Our pets age much faster than we do, and just like us, they need additional support as they get older. Although the exact rate of aging varies depending on the type and breed of pet you have, on average dogs reach their senior years at around 9, while cats are in the region of 12.
You’ll probably start to notice changes in your pet that indicate that they are aging, such as slowing down, sleeping more, and finding it more difficult to move around. Whenever your pet starts to reach their senior years, there’ll be some changes that you need to make to continue to provide them with the appropriate care and support. Here’s what you need to know about your aging pet.
Animals require different nutrition at every stage of their life, including during their senior years. This means that what, how, and how much you feed your pet may need to be altered. In fact, many animals move onto special senior diets that are recommended by their vet in Waco, TX at Ramsgate Veterinary Clinic. These are usually lower in calories since your pet will be moving around less and using less energy. They may also contain special vitamins, nutrients, and supplements that support any health conditions that your pet develops as they get older. For example, glucosamine is commonly added to senior pet diets as it helps with joint health since conditions like arthritis are more likely the older your animal gets.
Exercise is important for pets of all ages, but just as older humans are less likely to get involved for long periods of high-energy exercise, so too are older animals. It’s important to adjust your pet’s exercise regime to suit their older bodies. For example, instead of one long walk every day, break it down into two smaller and slightly slower walks. It’s crucial to keep up with some exercise every day though – it will keep their weight under control and give them the mental stimulation that they need to maintain their cognitive function.
As your pet ages, you may find it useful to make a few modifications to your home to make life a little easier for them. For example, many older animals start to suffer from joint degeneration. This can be painful and make moving around difficult and uncomfortable. You may wish to keep all of your pet’s things on one floor so that they don’t have to go up and downstairs. You can also buy products such as ramps to make it easier to get your dog into your vehicle. Similarly, your pet’s eyesight and hearing may deteriorate with age. Keep this in mind when looking at the layout of your home. Keep things as simple as possible for your pet to move around, and don’t leave out anything that they could trip over or hurt themselves in any other way.
It’s normal for your pet’s behavior to change as they get older too. They may become more easily stressed or anxious by new people, places, and situations, sudden noises could startle them, or they may start to seem to ignore you. The latter can occur when your pet’s hearing starts to deteriorate. Your pet’s bathroom habits may change too, and they may start to go more or less often. If you have any concerns about sudden behavior changes in your dog, it’s important to get them examined by your vet in Waco, TX to make sure there are no underlying health problems.
For more advice on caring for your senior pet, speak to our friendly and knowledgeable veterinary team at Ramsgate Veterinary Clinic in Waco, Texas at (254) 848-4083 today!