April 1, 2019
Dogs and cats from 6 – 7 years of age. Larger breeds age more rapidly. Birds in general age differently according to their breed. Rodents live fairly short lives and some age from as early as two years. Animals, like humans show typical signs of ageing. If you are mindful and attentive you could provide a comfortable and safe environment for your ageing pet.
Consider This: Taking your senior dog or cat to the vet for a check-up once a year, is equivalent to taking your ageing parent or grandparent to the doctor for a check-up only once every 6 or 7 years.
Watch out for these signs of ageing:
Slowing down and Sleeping a lot
Your once playful and lively pet may now appear to move slower and not show interest in playing the games that they previously could not resist. Your cat may find it difficult to climb into the litter box or on furniture. As our pets get older, they find it difficult to climb stairs, onto their beds, and into the car. Older pets sleep a lot more and may become irritable when they are disturbed. Make children aware of this by explaining your senior pet’s discomfort and need for space and rest. Discuss supplements for their aching joints and overall health with your vet. Provide comfortable bedding and easily accessible water and food bowls.
Loss of Vision and Hearing
Vision and hearing loss can make your pet disoriented and frightened. Be mindful of abrupt changes in the household such a stranger visiting, new gardeners, builders/ painters or other unfamiliar service providers. Limit moving familiar furniture around. Keep their food and water bowls as well as your cat’s litter box in familiar places.
Cataracts and eye infections are common and dangerous in ageing pets and can be picked up and treated by your vet.
Dental problems and Mouth infections
Senior pets are very prone to mouth infections and cancers. Most senior dogs and cats develop dental infections. This is extremely painful and also causes secondary problems such as kidney and heart disease. Regular check-ups – every 6 months for senior pets – are vital.
Watch out for signs of appetite loss and refusing treats and food.
Senior pets need special care and extra love.
They are more sensitive to temperatures, noises, changes in their environment, and in general more fragile and vulnerable. Older pets may develop incontinence and eliminate in the house, (first be patient and understanding – do not scold) and speak to your vet, this can be treated and managed. Your senior pet needs dental care, regular grooming, age-appropriate food, clean water, safe and comfortable bedding, loads of love and patience and how about a regular massage to keep good blood circulation going?!
Please keep in mind that dogs tend to instinctively hide their pain to not appear vulnerable. Your careful attention and mindfulness is so important. Shivering, sleeping a lot, hiding, bumping into things, irritability, excessive licking and refusing food or treats are only some of the signs that your beloved pet may be in pain.
First, be kind.
- Make sure that your pets are safe and protected during the holidays.
- Ensure that your care taker is reliable and kind and has references/ recommendations.
- Look that your pets are healthy before you leave and/or that required medication is available and will be correctly administered.
- BEWARE THE FIREWORKS and THUNDERSTORMS!
Touch your pet, engage with them, play with them, be aware of their habits, preferences and activities – these are ways to pick up changes and take pro-active action for their health and safety when they need you to.
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