Helpful Tips for Senior Pets

Just like people, pets need a little extra medical attention and care as they grow older. Given the right diet, exercise, and veterinary care, senior pets can live long and happy lives.

While all pets are different, most cats and dogs are considered to be geriatric at age seven. Find tips from the team at Paws, Whiskers & Wags below on how to keep your pet active and healthy during their senior years.

Doctor’s Orders: Schedule Regular Vet Check-Ups

Going to the vet might not be your pet’s favorite activity, but regular check-ups are essential to a senior pet’s health. Through regular check-ups, your veterinarian will be able to monitor your pet’s condition and make note of any behavioral or physical changes that may occur. While some changes are normal signs of aging, other alterations (behavioral or physical) may indicate more serious health issues.
Some of the most common behavioral and physical changes seen in senior pets that should be monitored include:
• Weight loss or gain
• Changes in appetite or thirst
• Limping or favoring limbs
• Changes in bathroom habits
• Fatigue, listlessness, or other changes in mood or personality
• Signs of physical pain
Learn more about common health problems in older pets from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

An Active Pet is a Healthy Pet

For both people and pets, a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise makes us healthier in older age. Unless your pet shows signs of pain or discomfort (in which case you should have her examined by a veterinarian), you should continue to keep your pet active.
For senior pets, mental exercise is just as vital as physical activity. Pets can become senile as they age, just like humans, and an active mind is the best defense. Pet owners should never stop challenging their pets to learn new skills to keep their minds active and engaged. Being physically and mentally active can also help ward off signs of depression in older pets.

Make Necessary Diet Adjustments

Many senior cats and dogs begin to have difficulty in digesting food as they grow older. Consult with your vet about what, if any, changes you should make to your senior pet’s diet.
Some senior pets put on weight, while others lose weight. Based on your pet’s individual needs and your vet’s instructions, make the necessary changes to your pet’s food type, portion size, and caloric intake. Remember not to make any sudden or drastic changes in diet. Instead, slowly wean your pet onto their new food by gradually introducing it, along with their old food. Be sure to monitor any changes that may occur.

Contact Paws, Whiskers & Wags in Atlanta, Covington, and Charlotte

The dedicated team at Paws, Whiskers & Wags understands the love and care pet owners feel for their senior pets. Contact our team to learn more about senior pet care, our services, or pet loss support groups.

10 thoughts on “Helpful Tips for Senior Pets

  1. Veronica Marks

    It’s so interesting how the same concept of being active is good for both dogs and humans, especially in old age. I never realized pets could get depression until my aunt’s dog started showing signs of having it. Hopefully I can set up good habits with my dog so that she stays in great condition, both physically and mentally, for as long as possible!

  2. Lillian Moore

    Thanks for the article! I thought it was interesting that an active pet could be a healthier pet. I can see the merit in having a more physically active pet, but I was surprised by the idea of keeping the pet mentally engaged. I like to teach my dog one trick each two months so she will be healthy. I had assumed that the tricks were part of the physical health, but teaching obedience and other tricks can definitely be mental as well.

  3. Maggie

    It’s good to know that there can be a lot of changes that occur when a dog starts to get older. Right now, my Scottish Terrier is about 8 years old, so she might start exhibiting some of these changes. We’ve always had a hard time keeping her at a healthy weight(she loves to eat), so I’ll be sure to monitor that more closely. And, of course, I’ll be sure that she has regular vet visits!

  4. Maggie and Alan Hewitt

    Thank you. Our cat Freckles (20 yrs old) past away on 3-26. We had her back within 48 hrs. My wife and I were surprised to find a lock of her fur with her urn. If we had been thinking clearly we might have asked for this service. It was totally unexpected and brought tears to our eyes. Again thank you.

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  6. Alexandria Martinez

    My best friend’s pet is getting older and she is thinking about the future of her dog. She is considering pet cremations for her pet’s final days. I think she should also be looking into the necessary diet changes she will have to make for him.

  7. Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for these tips for senior pets. It’s good to know that you should keep a pet active unless they show signs of discomfort. If you don’t know what these signs are, perhaps it could be good to talk with the vet about what to look for so you can get any issues treated quickly.

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