As we get older, there are many new challenges we must face:
When did it get so difficult getting up from a lounge chair?
Why do I feel tired after doing an activity I’ve always done with ease?
All of these changes are normal as we grow older, and our bodies and brains begin to function in ways we aren’t used to.
The same goes for our pets. Aging similarly affects people and pets, especially in terms of diminished eyesight and hearing, general fatigue, and weight gain. Just as we get older and must alter our own routines in order to better care for ourselves, we should also learn about the steps to animal care required for our aging four-legged friends.
Knowing the Needs of Older Pets
All of us know the benefits of having a pet: they lift our spirits with their constant companionship; they boost our level of activity and social interaction; they encourage healthy living and positive routines. The enrichment pets bring to our lives - particularly for senior citizens - is invaluable, but what happens when our pets get old, like us?
Signs of aging in pets are very similar to the challenges we face as elderly humans. Older pets are typically more sensitive to temperature changes and are unable to thermoregulate. Keeping your pet out of the heat in the summertime, and warm with a blanket or sweater in the winter, is important to their health.
You should pay close attention to your elderly pet’s diet, based on the advice of your veterinarian. They may need more (or less) of certain nutrients, fats, or protein, especially if they have an illness or are taking medications.
Moderate exercise is also an important factor for supporting your pet’s general mobility and happiness.
Maintaining the Proper Care for Your Pet
If your own challenges of growing old are interfering with your ability to look after your pet on your own, there are resources for aging pets that can provide the care they need. Organizations like Borrow My Doggy can help care for your pet, or Meals on Wheels could deliver pet food to your home. There are also pet sitting sites and foster care programs if you have to leave your pet for an extended period of time.
It seems to be the best option for both the elderly owner and pet to be able to stay together and continue on life as usual, whenever possible. Taking the steps to provide the best health care for your aging pet is crucial to the two of you living out your golden years together.
Thank you to freelance writer, Sally Perkins, for sharing this great information with us!