Pet Love

A Brief Guide to Caring for a Senior Pet

As pets age, they may require more TLC to stay happy and healthy. According to vets, dogs are generally considered senior if they’re more than six years old, and over eleven-year-old cats are often seen as seniors. That’s why it’s important to start giving your senior pet the extra care they need as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for effective geriatric cat and dog care:

1. Comfortable Bed for Sleeping

Pets need a comfortable place to sleep, just like we do. Senior pets can benefit from a soft, padded bed that’s low to the ground. This will help them get up and down easier.

2. Easier-to-Chew Diet

Food easier to chew can be a big help for senior pets. Look for kibble that’s small and soft, or try wet food. But watch out for their weight as older pets can become obese if they overeat food. 

3. Extra Water

Just as people need to drink plenty of water as they age, senior pets do too. Your dog or cat should have access to clean fresh water. You can place a water bowl near their bed or food dish or buy a pet fountain that encourages them to drink more.

4. Regular Vet Visits

Some pet owners tend to forget that their senior pet still needs regular vet visits. Older pets can develop health problems just like people do, so catching any early issues is important.

Take them to your trusted vets, such as Kearny Mesa Veterinary Center, to track your pet’s health and ensure they get the care they need. The vet may recommend specific treatments or medications to help keep your pet healthy and comfortable during their visit. For instance, your aging cat may need to start taking thyroid medication.

5. Physical Activity

Just because your pet gets older doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy physical activity. In fact, staying active can help keep them healthy and happy.

You can take your senior dog for walks, play fetch or tug-of-war, or even take them for a swim. Monitor their energy level and adjust the activities as needed.

For cats, provide them with a scratching post and plenty of toys to keep them amused. You can also set up a small climbing area, such as a cat tree, to give them a place to explore.

6. Vaccination and Parasite Protection

Older pets are more susceptible to diseases and parasites, so keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations and deworming is essential. Speak with your vet on the best way to protect your pet against common threats.

7. Oral Protection

As pets age, their gums and teeth may start to weaken. This can make them more susceptible to oral diseases. Senior pets should use pet-specific toothpaste and have their teeth brushed regularly. You can also give them soft chew toys to help clean their teeth.

Keep in Mind

As your pet enters their golden years, you must keep these tips in mind and ensure they get the care they need. Your senior pet will be happy and healthy for many years with extra love and attention.

Also, choose a vet that specializes in senior pet care (like this Kearny Mesa vet) and can provide you with the best advice for keeping them healthy and comfortable.