As our beloved feline and canine companions get older, they often start to require more care and attention. Senior pets can face various health challenges, including arthritis, dental issues, and cognitive decline. So if you’re in need of advice on how to care for a senior cat or dog, you’re in luck. Here at Pets Purest, we've compiled a list of our top 5 tips for caring for senior cats and senior dogs, so read on to keep tails wagging and kitties purring.
1. Dietary Supplements
Whilst there are lots of pet foods developed specifically for older pets, we know that our four-legged friends can be fussy when it comes to their food. Sneaking a supplement into their favourite food is a great tactic when it comes to caring for senior cats and dogs, boosting their health and well-being without changing the brand they love.
One of the most convenient ways to do this is with a multi-purpose supplement like our Daily Senior Supplement for Cats and Dogs. This liquid supplement can be applied as a tasty topper to their food, rather than trying to sneak a tablet into the meal or within a treat. Tablets also often contain artificial chemicals and fillers, which could upset your older pet’s sensitive stomach, whereas each and every one of our products is 100% natural.
2. Provide a Comfortable Environment
Creating a comfortable living space for your senior pet is essential for their well-being. Here are some ways to make their home environment more accommodating:
- Orthopaedic Beds: Consider investing in an orthopaedic bed for the best joint care for senior dogs and cats. These beds provide extra cushioning and can help to alleviate joint pain.
- Accessible Food and Water: Ensure your pet can easily access food and water bowls. Elevated dishes can be more comfortable for senior pets with mobility issues.
- Non-Slip Flooring: Senior pets may struggle with slippery floors. Place rugs or non-slip mats in areas where they walk to prevent accidents.
- Temperature Control: One of our simplest tips for keeping an old dog or cat healthy is to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, especially during extreme weather. Senior pets are more sensitive to temperature changes.
- Quiet Retreats: Create quiet spaces where your pet can rest without any disturbances. Older pets often need more peace and quiet to sleep well.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Something that requires particular attention when caring for senior cats and dogs is their weight. As senior pets become less active in their older years, keeping an eye on their weight is a must. A 2023 PDSA report found that up to 65% of dogs in the UK are overweight or obese, with only 5% of dog owners weighing their pet in the last 12 months. It also found that 56% of UK pet owners actually know their pet’s ideal weight. There are lots of helpful resources online; however, if you’re unsure of your pet’s ideal weight, feel free to consult your vet, who will be able to advise you.
A quick and simple tip for actually weighing your pet is to weigh yourself, hear us out, and then pick up your pet and step onto the weights again. This avoids having to get them to sit calmly on the scales while you record their weight. This can be challenging, however, if you have a particularly large or heavy dog.
All senior pets are particularly prone to obesity, which can exacerbate other health issues, particularly those relating to their joints and mobility. It may seem obvious, but portion control is one of the most effective ways to help manage your pet’s weight. Don’t feel guilty giving them smaller portions; you’re doing them a favour in the long run.
4. Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Maintaining physical and mental health is vital for senior pets. Here are some suggestions on how to keep an old dog or cat healthy, active and engaged:
- Gentle Exercise: While they may not have the same energy as when they were younger, senior pets still benefit from regular exercise. Short, low-impact walks and light play sessions can help keep their muscles and joints in good condition. If you’re looking for the best joint care for senior dogs and cats, consider investing in our daily joint supplement for cats and dogs.
- Mental Enrichment: Stimulate your pet's mind with puzzles, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games. Mental stimulation can help combat cognitive decline. Order your best friend one of our enriching lick mats & peanut butter bundles for a delicious treat.
- Regular Playtime: Spend quality time with your senior pet. They still enjoy play and companionship, and it can help improve their overall well-being.
- Social Interaction: If possible, arrange playdates with other dogs or allow your cat to socialise with other feline friends. Social interaction is essential for good mental health.
When it comes to how to keep an old dog or cat healthy, it is important to be mindful of their limitations and remember that every pet is different. If they seem tired or uncomfortable, it's crucial to adjust activities accordingly. On the other hand, your pet may not experience any mobility, dental or cognitive issues, but may experience other health challenges as they get older.
Respiratory problems for example are more common in older dogs, with pet owners reporting issues with increased and/or excessive coughing. Natural remedies like our Natural Cough Drops for Dogs can help alleviate these symptoms and help improve your senior pet’s quality of life. If symptoms persist, this could indicate a more serious medical condition and we would advise that you seek advice from your vet.
5. Provide Love and Affection
Lastly, don't underestimate the power of love and affection in caring for senior cats and dogs. They thrive on companionship and benefit greatly from human interaction. Here are several ways you can show your pet that you care:
- Regular Grooming: Brushing and grooming your pet not only keeps their coat healthy but also provides a bonding experience.
- Cuddle Time: By far our easiest tip on how to care for a senior cat or dog is to spend quality time cuddling and petting them. Physical contact can help to reduce stress and anxiety, whilst strengthening your bond.
- Routine and Consistency: Stick to a consistent daily routine. Senior pets find comfort in predictability, and it can reduce stress.
- Patience and Understanding: Understand that senior pets may have accidents or behave slightly differently as they age. Be patient and compassionate with them.
In conclusion, caring for senior cats and dogs requires a combination of different approaches and will vary depending on their own unique needs. We understand that every pet is different. However, hopefully, these five tips will help you out, whether you’re caring for your family dog or are thinking of adopting an older cat. At Pets Purest, we’re all about helping your feline friend or canine companion enjoy a happy and healthy life in their golden years.
Make sure you come back and visit our Blog & Advice Hub regularly for more helpful advice on how to help keep your pet feeling healthy from the inside out. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions on caring for senior cats or how to keep an old dog healthy, our team are more than happy to help.