Tips For Supporting Your Aging Pet’s Health

Just like people, when dogs enter their senior years, they experience several physical changes that require a bit more attention. Pet owners can help their pets enjoy a good quality of life at every stage of life by understanding these changes and providing the best care possible for their pet’s well-being.


Food Issues

Your aging pet may have less of an appetite or may develop gastrointestinal issues from their normal diet. They may develop frequent diarrhea or constipation. Many older pets benefit from changing to a food that is more easily digested. Gaining weight often accompanies aging in pets. If your pet seems to be putting on pounds quickly, talk to your vet about a suitable diet for their nutritional needs.


Reduced Exercise Needs

You may have to switch to shorter walking routes to accommodate the tender, arthritic joints of your aging pet. Older pets may be less interested in indoor play activities.


Greater Sleep Needs

Older animals need more sleep, and you might be surprised by the amount of time your aging pet spends sleeping each day. However, this is a normal sign of aging in pets and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm unless there are other signs of possible illness, such as poor appetite, signs of pain, or lack of interest in what’s going on around them.


Diminished Sight and Hearing

Like people, older pets may have vision and hearing problems that may affect their ability to get around safely and effectively. You can help animals with vision problems by keeping furniture and other items in their usual places and removing any items that could be hazardous. If your pet has hearing loss, you can change your communication technique from voice commands to hand signals. Staying close to your pet when they are outdoors will help to prevent accidents from impaired senses.


Coat Changes

You may notice more gray in your pet’s coat, around their face, and on their paws. This is a result of natural physical changes in aging. The animal’s coat may be less dense, as well. Your older pet may also be more susceptible to skin problems, due to coat changes and health conditions. Proper nutrition, regular bathing, and daily grooming can help to reduce the risk of skin problems.


Behavior Changes

As they age, animals may become less interactive than they were in their younger days. They may be more sensitive to touch and may dislike being touched in certain ways. Your pet may be less tolerant of other animals, as well.


Common Health Conditions of Aging Pets

Older pets often develop health conditions that require ongoing care, both from veterinarians and from their owners. Diabetes, heart problems, kidney disorders, liver impairment, and cancer may require daily medication, a special diet, and regular checkups from the vet.


Aging pets will benefit from a little extra TLC to accommodate their changing physical, mental, and emotional needs. The small adjustments you make can have a big impact on your pet’s quality of life and overall well-being.