Supporting the senior pets we know and love is just another phase in the human-animal relationship. Many people express concerns about how to navigate the aging process with their pet, but just like with aging people, we can approach this phase of life with compassion and knowledge.
“Golden Years” is a description our society has used to describe this time of life and with that in mind, here’s some information to keep your pets happy, healthy and comfortable.
Get Regular Checkups
As pets age, their bodies progress with the natural changes of life. The occurrence of diseases become more frequent for this age group and veterinarians see an increased risk for cancer, arthritis and dementia, as well as the decline in organ functionality such as the liver and kidneys.
Frequent screening means earlier intervention and treatment. There are many options out there both medically and homeopathically, to support the aging animal body.
As their bodies change, so do their nutritional needs. Additionally, as they age, weight is a more common issue. Consulting your veterinarian on need specific food and reading labels of what you feed them becomes more necessary. Limiting or eliminating table scraps and human food, can also aid. Remember extra weight can aggravate or worsen aging ailments such as arthritis or organ function.
The ways your aging pet partakes in physical activity is also likely to change. Those two-mile hikes twice a week might whittle down to a half mile once a week. But even as the physical endurance level declines, you can still keep them physically and mentally stimulated. You can walk for much shorter durations less frequently, you can provide food puzzles and other less arduous activity. And of course, nothing takes the place of being with your pet and snuggling on the couch or bed. The feel-good endorphins and physical contact provide a myriad of benefits for both you and your aging pet.
There is another consideration for senior pets, whether you have one or you don’t. There are many wonderful senior animals at Rochester Animal Services. These ‘experienced and wise’ temporary residents are in need of the love you have to offer. Whether they are being rehomed due to an owner moving, passing or have ended up loose with no identified owner to contact, they will be a loving addition to your family.
Rochester Animal Services offers discount fees for adoptable senior animals and even more discounts if you yourself are a senior adopting a senior pet. Click here to learn more.
As a reminder, November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, but it’s always a great time to GIVE, ADOPT, LOVE.
We wish you all a joyous Summer and we hope to see you soon at Rochester Animal Services!
– Jennifer Brown, President, VSAS