Aged pets often become less agile and sometimes less attractive, just as people do in their old age. Many owners accept these natural consequences of ageing and accommodate them…sometimes making major changes to their own lifestyle to do so!
Your pet’s twilight years provide you with the opportunity to repay them for all the enjoyment they have given you, by providing the extra attention they need.
Sadly, many pets are “put down” soon after age-related health troubles arise.
Some tips for caring for old pets:
- Provide comfortable bedding in places where the pet normally rests during daytime. Cushions or foam mats can be laid on the ground wherever he/she habitually lies. Sheets or blankets on these resting areas can help you deal with incontinence problems. Make sure the pet can rest somewhere cool on hot days and somewhere warm on cold days.
- Ensure that the night-time bed is warm, dry, draught-free, easy to get into and in a suitable location – some dogs would rather sleep on the floor near their owners than elsewhere in a warm bed! (Or on the doorstep, nearer you, than in a warm kennel.)
- Take your pet for annual veterinary checks, so that health problems (common with gums, teeth, kidneys and arthritis) can be picked up early, when they can be treated more easily.
- Daily walks for dogs need to be less physically challenging, but rich in experience, e.g. plenty of sniffing, or digging in loose earth or sand.
- Ensure clean, long grass is always available. Old pets with missing teeth will appreciate your hand-feeding grass to them. Pets that are feeling sick will rush outside and start “grazing” immediately so have some grass handy to the outside door.
- Elevate feeding and water dishes a bit, and keep water near resting places.
- Ensure the water supply is reliable and continuously available, especially if feeding dried food.
- Use ramps or stairs for getting in and out of cars and for access to favourite resting places. There are plans for homemade ramps on the internet and commercial ramps are available too.
- Use Deer Sinew to provide safe, gentle nourishment for joints and overall health: see Deer Sinew.