Although they’re still the spritely young kitten or pup in our minds, your pets need extra care as they reach their senior years. Here’s our list of suggestions to keep that heartbeat at your feet happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Foodie

diet for older dogs

Keeping your pet’s diet healthy and nutritious is vital at any stage of their life, but as they age they require a different set of vitamins and minerals. Most brands have a senior range of food that will most likely include more omega 3, 6 and 9 for their bones and joints.

Different sizes and breeds will have different needs so it’s worth a quick chat with your vet to discover what they would recommend. Sometimes a hasty google search is misleading.

Try animal care sites such as PDSA or the RSPCA for information first, rather than the pet food shops.

Read more: 13 Things your vet won't tell you

 

 

Gym membership

senior cat playing with toy

Although they may have a slower pace and preference for snuggles over outdoor activity, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still be getting exercise. You don’t have to drag them on a 10-mile uphill hike, but encourage your pet to get out into the fresh air.

The sights and smells should inspire their natural urge to trot about and explore again. If they’re particularly lazy, try small with indoor games and play with toys that will keep their mind active and get them moving about a bit at least.

Read more: How to exercise at home

 

 

Fit not fat

fat old dog

If you’re feeding your pet healthy foods in appropriate sized portions and making sure they’re getting enough exercise you shouldn’t have an overweight friend at your side.

However, if you still think they need to lose a few pounds, you can discuss with your vet how to help them shed fat and maintain a healthy weight.

Carrying extra fat causes unnecessary stress on your pet’s body, particularly on their joints and internal organs. Not worth giving in to that face at the dinner table, however adorable.

 

 

The dreaded vets

old dog visits the vet

Not many people enjoy a trip to the doctors and it’s certainly the same for your pet. Regular checks at the vets can prevent minor health issues flaring up and escalating.

Older pets should be taken to the vet at least once every six months. On your next visit, ask your vet what common issues usually affect their particular breed such as arthritis or diabetes. You can then be on the look out for warning signs.

 

 

Tooth hurty

old dog teeth care

Again, a trip to the dentists isn’t something we all look forward to. But if senior pets’ teeth are neglected it can cause other health problems. Plaque and tartar build up can lead to gingivitis which causes bacteria reaching their bloodstream and causing major damage to their internal organs.

There are specifically designed dental chews you can buy for them to help, but you can also brush their teeth yourself at home. Then don’t forget to book them in for annual professional cleanings at the vet too to make sure their gums are in optimum condition.

 

 

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