How are you caring for your aging pet? Whether we like it or not, we are all getting older every day. “We” very definitely includes your pets. While cats and dogs don’t go as dramatically gray as humans do and their fur hides any wrinkling, an aging pet is nevertheless as changed from its youthful version as any one of us. That being said, the signs of aging may be harder to spot in relatively healthy and active pets. Still, as the years roll by, you may notice your pets spending more and more time, especially after a long walk or some vigorous play, on their bedding.
Such age-related health issues as arthritis and obesity are common in dogs and cats, much as they are for humans. Whether you walk on two legs or four, the stress on joints will increase with age. Similarly, whether your favorite sport is tennis, golf, fetch, or bird chasing, even active humans and animals alike find that their metabolism slows down over time and the foods they once ate without concern now stick to the waistlines with alarming tenacity.
Of course, as your pet ages, you should stay in touch with your veterinarian and watch out for any signs of something amiss. Dogs and cats are both prone to hiding symptoms – it’s a highly valuable survival skill in the wild – so even seemingly minor changes in eating, drinking, or behavior would be worth a call to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian might also have some helpful suggestion for therapies or supplements to address “aging” issues. The recommendations and treatments for our senior pets are very similar to what your doctor would prescribe for aging people. Stay very active, eat healthy, a lower calorie diet and keep your pet’s brain busy with plenty of play. Couch dog beds have their place but they should be a temporary resting spot, not a permanent hitching post.