Quick Senior Tips
With all the advancements in veterinary medicine, our pets are living longer lives! Its wonderful that we get more years with them (still not enough time), but we've come across a new problem of how to care for them in their geriatric years. I've put together a small list of essentials to have for your older dog to help with this new phase of life.
Pee Pads - Accidents are going to happen. Some older pets are unable to hold it for more than a few hours, so pee pads will help keep your house clean, and keep their dignity intact. They don't like soiling the house anymore than you do! Pet Diapers or Belly Bands are also great for pets that have incontinent issues.
Traction Socks, Booties, Slings - If you have hardwood floors, slipping can be an issue for arthritic, weaker animals. Socks with grips or booties placed on their paws will help with walking, stability, and decrease falls, slips, or accidents. Rugs, yoga mats, or non-slip drawer liners can help with traction around the house as well! If your dogs drag their paws on walks, boots and socks will protect their nails from being run down to the quick (blood vessel). For larger dogs, slings are extremely helpful for stability on stairs and while posturing to poop and pee :)
Raised Food and Water Bowls - Keeping food and water bowls level to your pet's chest is easier on their necks, decreases stress and weight on the shoulder and front limb area, and helps with prehension (getting food into the mouth).
Orthopedic Bedding - A comfy, cushioned spot for pets to sleep and rest will help decrease bedsores, ease pain on arthritic joints, and create a safe space where they can find refuge if they are feeling a little agitated. Having a safe space designated for you pet can help them feel comforted and decrease any unease that may develop with dementia, or anxiety that may develop with age.
Cooling Pads and/or Sweaters - Older dogs can have a difficult time regulating their body temperatures due to poor circulation. During the spring and summer, cooling pads on their bedding can help decrease overheating and panting, and in the fall and winter, sweater and sweatshirts can help keep our pets warm.
Probiotics and Immune Support Supplements - As pets age (just like humans), their immune system doesn't work as well. A quality daily probiotic or immune support supplement can help them fight off infections, stomach issues, and help with overall health. Ask your vet for specific recommendations to help with you pet's ailments, such as arthritis, dementia, cardiac disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
Interaction and Preserving the Human-Animal Bond - Older pets still love to explore outside, go on walks, play with toys, and find the MOST joy with interacting with their owners. Take them on (shorter) walks, use a wagon or stroller, take time to give them love and attention, interact with them on a daily basis to show them how much you still care and to keep their mind sharp! They still love to show you how they can sit, stay, roll over, and other tricks in order to please you!
Acupuncture, Physical Therapy, Massage, Cold Laser, and other alternative therapies - You know I was going to bring these modalities up! They can help decrease prescription medications, release endorphins, increase circulation, and help improve your pet's quality of life. Inquire with your vet about these therapies.
Check Ups every 6-9 months - Pets age faster than humans, so getting a good check up, imaging (x-rays, ultrasound), blood work, and thorough exam is essential to keep you pet healthy and catch illness or issues early on.
Each pet is different, so please ask your vet any questions about your older pet!