It can be hard to watch your furry best friend get older. Like humans, pets entering their senior years can start to slow down, get sick more often and not be as energetic and playful as they once were. Happily, a few simple adjustments in your lifestyle and home can help your pet navigate their golden years more smoothly. Here are some easy ways to help your pet age comfortably at home:
Visit the vet more frequently.
A good way to manage illnesses or diseases is through regular examinations. Often conditions can be present before you are aware of them, but a vet is trained to spot these in the early stages and can offer tools for early detection. So, instead of a once-a-year check-up, consider switching to visits every six months. Identifying issues early can lead to more effective treatment.
Adjust your pet’s meal plan.
Reduced activity at this stage can lead to weight gain, which can lead to obesity. Older pets typically require 30% less calories than younger ones. Consider switching to food made especially for dogs and cats in their senior years – these tend to be lower in fat and contain less calories. Heart or kidney issues can also impact your pet’s nutritional needs, so ask your vet what foods will be most appropriate for your pet.
While your pet may have slowed down with age, it’s important to keep them active within their abilities. Activity strengthens muscles, improves heart and brain functions and improves circulation. Adjust your activities to work with their decreased energy levels or mobility. Be careful not to let your pet overexert themself in very hot weather. If your pet seems tired and is panting excessively, let them rest. Consult your vet if your pet appears to be in pain.
Give your pet a leg up when needed.
That dog or cat that could leap onto your couch or bound up the stairs may need a little help now. Investing in a dog ramp and folding car stairs can make things easier (CAA Members enjoy special prices on these). Also, consider putting additional litterboxes, food and water bowls on each floor of your home, so your pet doesn’t have to make as many trips on the stairs. If your pet has sore or arthritic joints, pad their bed with a soft blanket.
See a vet ASAP if your pet appears sick.
Report changes in weight, appetite, energy level, behaviour, drinking and urination to your vet, even if they occur slowly. If your dog is lethargic, not eating, is vomiting or has diarrhea, it’s time to see the vet.
Find a pet insurance plan to help manage vet and medicine costs.
CAA has partnered with Pets Plus Us to offer pet insurance at special rates for CAA Members*. These flexible pet insurance plans help offset the cost of veterinary care, so you're in a better position to make decisions about your pet's medical needs without worrying about costs. Select a plan that meets your pet’s needs and budget and enjoy benefits including:
- PetHelpFoneTM 24/7 emergency service
- Compassionate Care Line with in-house counsellors to help you deal with serious illness, injuries and bereavement
- Pet Poison Helpline® 24/7 animal poison control service
The great thing is this insurance coverage can be available for ageing and senior pets since there is no upper age limit to enrol.** Click here to learn more about pet insurance through CAA or call 1-833-323-2452.
The tips noted above can help both you and your pet enjoy this journey through their next chapter today. Most importantly, now is the time to show your pet a lot of extra love!