The powerful combination of responsible pet ownership and modern veterinary medicine not only influences day-to-day wellness, but impacts a pet’s longevity as well. Pets are living longer than ever before, and they need a supportive environment that promotes safety, comfort, and engagement as they age. Providing a place for the changing needs of senior pets isn’t just about removing or blocking unsafe items. Certain home modifications can improve mobility and add to a senior pet’s happiness.
Aging is a gradual process. Sometimes, health conditions present few, if any, clinical symptoms in the first stages. We recommend two wellness exams per year for senior pets so we can catch any age-related problems before they become unmanageable. The good news is that early detection of many health conditions leads to effective treatment and a good prognosis.
Most senior pets struggle with arthritis and display some difficulty with previously-enjoyed activities. Mobility issues can stand in the way of a pet’s happiness, but the following accommodations can help them around the house:
- Remove certain obstacles
- Block off stairways
- Place non-skid, padded, or grippy mats on well-traveled areas
- Carpeted areas and rugs can help pets navigate slippery floors
- Provide them with grippy booties or traction socks (if they’ll tolerate them)
- Raise their food and water bowls off the floor
- Provide additional water bowls throughout the house so they never have to walk far to stay hydrated (you can do the same for litter boxes, too)
- Upgrade to a new orthopedic pet bed to soothe joints and support their aches and pains
- Install ramps that help them get up and down from places they enjoy
- Set up a security camera that allows you to supervise them even when you’re not at home
- Hire a pet sitter to come in every few hours when you aren’t able to be home
A senior pet may lose partial or total control of their bladder for various reasons, including simple aging. Help them with these items:
- Use pee pads on the floor
- Set them up with diapers or other sanitary garments
- Install an easy to pass through doggy door so they don’t have to wait for help out
- Upgrade to an easy to step into litter box
- Set a timer to remind yourself that they should be offered a bathroom break every 1-2 hours
- Make their outdoor bathroom area very accessible to them, maybe even bringing it closer to the door
Keeping the Right Body Temperature
Regulating internal body temperature is much harder to do for senior pets. This means that any fluctuations in the environmental temperature can have dangerous consequences to senior health. With the goal of keeping them dry, warm, and comfortable, have a constant eye on the home’s thermostat. Always have soft, warm blankets available to them alongside supportive, cushioned bedding.
Senior pets must be protected from extreme weather. Anytime it is either too hot or cold outside, senior pets need to be safely indoors until temperatures normalize.
The Golden Years
We are here to help your pet enjoy their senior years. If you have any questions or concerns about the many ways to create a senior-friendly home for your pet, give us a call at (916) 939‑1705.