The age your pet is considered a “senior” varies by their size, breed, and species. Large breed dogs age the quickest and may be considered a senior when they reach age 7, while smaller breeds (under 50lbs.) may not be considered a senior until age 10. Cats are typically considered seniors after they reach age 10 or 11. Regardless of your pet’s breed or species, it’s important to know what to look out for as your cat or dog ages so you can care for your senior pet and give them the best possible life! We have compiled everything you need to know about how to care for your pet as they enter their senior years.
SIGNS OF AGING IN PETS
- Lower energy level
- Increased sleep
- Decline of hearing and/or vision
- Decreased mobility
- Medical issues
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Poor skin and coat quality
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SENIOR DOG OR CAT
As your cat or dog ages, you should have them seen by the veterinarian more frequently to monitor their health and catch any diseases or other medical issues that may arise. Senior pets are more prone to kidney or liver disease, thyroid issues, arthritis, gastrointestinal upset, cognitive dysfunction, cancers, and more. If you have your senior pet examined by a vet twice a year, there is a much better chance of finding, managing, or treating problems before they progress too far.
Mobility & Comfort
Arthritis and joint pain are common in aging pets, especially senior dogs. These conditions can cause decreased mobility and pain that may lead to behavioral changes. Managing your pet’s discomfort and supporting their joints is important throughout their senior years and essential to proper senior pet care. Investing in a quality orthopedic pet bed will help your cat or dog by offering support as they lie down, as these beds are designed to cradle your pet’s body so they aren’t sinking to the floor. To protect your pet’s joints and avoid injury, limit them jumping on and off furniture by using pet stairs or ramps. These are also helpful for getting larger senior dogs into your car. If your pet is showing signs of pain, consult with a veterinarian on ways to relieve their discomfort with all-natural supplements, like Stella’s Solutions: Hip & Joint Boost, or pain medications.
As they grow older, your pet’s bathroom habits may not be as perfect as they once were. If your cat or dog is having accidents in your home or going outside of the litter box, always have them seen by the veterinarian first to rule out any underlying medical issues, like a urinary tract infection or kidney problems. For cats, consider buying a larger sized litter box that is lower to the ground for easy access. For dogs, try taking them out more often and on a regular basis after they wake up from a nap. Dogs that tend to urinate very frequently may need dog diapers or wraps while they’re inside. These are easy to put on and can provide peace of mind in your home. Putting out pee pads for cats and dogs is also worth a try and can be extremely convenient if your pet uses them.
Quality nutrition is imperative to support your senior pet’s overall well-being as they grow older. Choose less processed foods that are gentler on the digestive system with quality ingredients. Consider a diet that contains probiotics and antioxidants to help promote whole body health. Raw foods and wet foods are great options for older pets as they have a high moisture content to keep your pet hydrated and their kidneys functioning. Wet foods are also beneficial for senior pets with missing teeth or who have oral health issues.
Vision and hearing loss and any mental decline can cause your senior pet to get confused in your home. Try to keep the furniture layout consistent and create clear pathways throughout the home. Avoid changing the location of your pet’s food and water bowls or their litter box so they always know where they are.
Growing older is a gift and all senior pets should be cherished and given the best quality of life possible. Stella & Chewy’s offers complete and balanced diets formulated for All Life Stages that can help your older cat or dog thrive and a perfect for adding into your current senior pet care plan. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-477-8977 with any questions – we’d love to speak with you!