At Raintree Animal Hospital, we’re here to help take care of your beloved pet throughout all stages of life. Senior pets are no less deserving of our love and attention, and we want to share a few tips with you on how 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, only they don’t tackle the daily crossword puzzle to keep their minds sharp. Treat your pet’s brain as another muscle that needs regular 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 by hiding food throughout your home for your pet to seek out.
- Learn new tricks and skills by using lure or clicker training to help encourage your pet to think for herself.
- 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 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 she remains at a healthy weight by feeding her 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, she may benefit from a prescription diet formulated to help manage her 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.
Our Silver Whiskers Program is a preventive wellness program for adult and senior patients. It provides a medical plan that incorporates diagnostic tests, aiding in the early detection and prevention of disease. To learn more, click here.