10 Tips For your Senior Pet

Our pets deserve dedicated individualized care as they age. Brook Farm practices a sympathetic and mindful approach to pets as they enter the senior years. Monitoring, detailed wellness plans and family involvement are some of the ways that we ensure your pet’s optimal care at each stage of elderly life. Here are the top 10 tips for your senior pet.

1. Watch for changes in behavior. Your pet can't speak, but their behavior can give you big clues into their health. While an older pet is naturally less active, paying attention to unusual behaviors can help you catch problems early. Look for signs like:

  • Increased agitation or irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased water consumption
  • Changes in bowel movements or urination

2. Schedule regular vet visits. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best routine. Regular medical exams give you and your pet the advantage in catching age-related health problems quickly.

3. Change their diet. Older pets are less active and therefore need fewer calories. This is especially important as weight gain can lead to or exacerbate a lot of health problems. Again, talk to your vet to determine the best diet for your pet.

4. Keep moving. Like humans, pets need regular exercise as part of their senior pet care program. Your pet might not jump the way they used to, and they might not chase the frisbee like before, but movement keeps the joints healthy, the weight down, and the mental stimulation going

5. Look for signs of arthritis

  • Problems climbing stairs
  • Decreased activity
  • Seemingly stiff joints
  • Problems sitting or standing

It's important to note that you should never give your pet over-the-counter human pain medications unless specifically prescribed by your vet.

6. Make your home senior pet-friendly. Your pet may not be able to get around as easily as before, but you can make changes to their surroundings that can help them.

7. Be patient. Give them extra time to get around the house or out on walks.

8. Help them stay clean. As your pet ages, they may have trouble keeping themself clean and groomed. Assist them in keeping their teeth clean by brushing them regularly.

9. Be aware of the signs of cognitive dysfunction. As your pet ages, they may become confused and anxious. Other common signs of cognitive dysfunction include:

  • Incontinence
  • Wandering
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Decreased interest in play

You can help them by keeping a strict schedule of activities, such as feeding, walking, and bedtimes.

10. Focus on the quality of life. Your pet may not be able to go on those long hikes anymore, but they can still enjoy their senior years. You know your pet better than anyone. Give them extra cuddle time on the couch, buy their favorite treats, talk to them more often. Your pet’'s later years can be beautiful.

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LMU College of Veterinary Medicine
Northwestern Connecticut Community College
SUNY Delhi