Happy New Year! Is your pet in their golden years? If so, you’ll want to give them lots of extra care this year. You’ll read some great resolutions for people with older animals in this article from me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian.
Make Your Home Safer
Just like people, pets sometimes develop issues with their vision or hearing as they age. This increases the risk of injuries from falling or running into things. Take a few steps to make sure your home is safe for your pet. If you have an elderly pet and a pool, keep the pool gated when it isn’t in use. If your dog can’t see well, set out carpet runners to help him get around.
Offer Small Comforts
At this stage in your pet’s life, the focus really should be on comfort, not entertainment. Soft beds and good grooming are both musts for older animals. Your furry friend may also benefit from things like pet ramps or stairs. It’s a good idea to keep a nightlight on after dark as well.
Pay Attention To Climate
Older pets are extremely sensitive to temperature extremes. They also sometimes have a hard time adjusting when going from hot to cold areas or vice versa. Make sure your pet always has access to rooms with climate control. On chilly nights, offer them a thermal bed.
Update Veterinary Care
Your pet will benefit from more frequent doctor’s appointments at this stage in their life. I generally like to see older animals at least twice a year, but the exact appointment schedule will really depend on your pet’s age, breed, and health. In between appointments, watch for signs of illness. If you’re not sure what to look for, ask your vet for more information.
Provide Good Food
Proper nutrition is crucial at every stage of your pet’s life. Older animals sometimes do better with eating smaller, more frequent meals. Supplements can also be very helpful. For instance, dogs with arthritis often benefit from things such as fish oil and glucosamine. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.
Make Your Pet Feel Loved
Last but not least, pay lots of attention to your animal companion! This is a very special stage in your furred (or feathered) friend’s life.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian, anytime!