If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t want to face the fact that our pets age just like we do. Determining whether your pet is a senior or not depends a few factors – from their breed, their activity levels, general health, and lots more. But in the end, all that matters is how they feel and act.
Check out our list of things you may notice as your pets age. It’s our hope that with this list you can help your pets make this important transition with ease into their golden years.
SENIOR PHYSICAL AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGES
- In general, your pet may require more sleep than they’re used to. Make sure they have a comfortable and supportive bed where they can really relax after a long day, or use during a mid-day break. Try keeping multiple beds around the house, so they can follow you and keep an eye on you without overworking themselves.
- Older pet’s senses will begin to wane – this includes their hearing, vision, reactivity and more. As you can imagine, losing your sense of hearing or vision can cause stress and anxiety! So keep a special eye on your pet’s senses and see if there’s anything you need to adjust in their day-to-day lives to help keep them comfortable.
- Senior pets appreciate familiar things and a stable routine. Try your best to feed breakfast and dinner at about the same time, to keep their beds in the same place, and to limit other unnecessary changes that could affect them.
- Even if you notice pain in their hips and joints, know that an exercise and a moderately active lifestyle is still very important. Rotate in shorter walks to keep them mentally and physically active. Check out a physical rehab center like Two Hands Four Paws (located in Los Angeles) that specializes in water aerobics to help keep them physically fit while reducing impact and strain on older joints and muscles.
- Older pets tend to have an increase in accidents – oops! It’s not their fault, it’s just that over time bladders become weaker so try to find ways to offer them more bathroom breaks and help keep them comfortable. You might also want to try keeping training pads in familiar places around the house, like near doors to the outside.
- Sometimes – not always – physical and mental changes can be caused by underlying medical issues. If you notice something that causes alarm like, excessive panting, sudden disinterest in food or accidents or just general discontent and agitation it may be a good idea to swing by the vet just to check in on anything that could be underlying cause.
SENIOR HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
- You may notice your pet being much more picky with their food. They may not eat everything, or may only want one or two types of protein. Test around with some different options or maybe even add in yummy bone broth or some wet food to help increase their appetite and see what happens!
- Older dogs may not need as many calories, especially if their activity level has slowed down. Kriser’s recommends switching off of a carb or starch heavy kibble diet to a lower fat/lower calorie canned or raw diet in lean proteins like chicken or fish.
- Add in some nutritional supplemental support. Any one of our Kriser’s Pack Members can help make a recommendation for your pet’s specific needs. Some of our absolute favorites for senior pets include glucosamine and chondroitin like In Clover Connectin or Super Snouts Joint Power. These are proven to help keep joints lubricated and strong. You may also want to add in something to help keep their immune system up to par – like Dr. Harvey’s Golden Years or brain and heart support by Grey Muzzle from Ark Naturals.
- If your pet starts to get anxious, nervous, or just acts differently know that there are also nutritional supplements that can help them relax as well. Check out our other blog post from this month that goes into detail about a handful of these!
The Kriser’s Pack is here to help you find the best food, nutritional supplements, beds, toys, and just offer friendly advice for your senior pet. Head on over and stop by your local store to get started!
*Photos provided by Best Friends Animal Society, who is running a fantastic promotion for Adopt a Senior Month this month