After a lifetime of love and unwavering devotion, you want to show your beloved pet the same care and attention she’s shown you. Senior pets still have so much to give, so follow these three tips from our team at Valley Veterinary Hospital to make the most of their golden years:
#1: Teach your old dog (or cat) new tricks.
Senior pets can suffer from declining cognitive function just like people, except they don’t tackle the daily crossword puzzle to sharpen their minds. Treat your pet’s brain as another muscle that needs daily exercise to prevent wasting. Incorporate the following activities into your routine to add a stimulating mental nudge to your senior pet’s day:
- Serve meals by using food puzzles or hiding food throughout your home for your pet to seek out.
- Learn new tricks and skills using lure or clicker training to help encourage your pet to think for itself.
- Rotate toys to ensure each one is fresh and fun to entice your pet to play.
- Change your walking routine—hike a different trail, walk around the block in a new neighborhood, or check out a different dog park.
#2: Whet your pet’s appetite.
As pets age, they tend to become pickier about their food. Feeding a canned food and warming it in the microwave for a few seconds may entice your pet to eat.
In addition to finding a diet your pet enjoys, it’s important to ensure they remain at a healthy weight by feeding them food with the proper levels of calories, protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Senior dogs require fewer calories than their adult counterparts to remain healthy, while senior cats often require more. If your pet is suffering from a chronic disease, they may benefit from a prescription diet formulated to help manage their condition. Before changing your pet’s diet plan, speak with us about the healthiest choice available.
#3: Ease achy joints.
By combining the first two tips, you’re already on your way to alleviating osteoarthritis pain. Routine exercise maintains your pet’s muscle mass and promotes healthy joints, while proper nutrition ensures your pet remains lean and nourished. To further ease your pet’s achy joints, invest in high-quality orthopedic beds that are easily accessible. While fluffy beds may look appealing, they lack support, essentially leaving your pet to sleep on the hard floor. Add extra comfort with a heating pad designed to soothe away aches and pains.
As your pet ages, you want to keep them happy and healthy. Give us a call for more tips on making your pet’s golden years their best yet.