Living With Your Older Pets
Pets bring such enjoyment, love and companionship to our lives. They are our constant companions through the good and bad times. They greet us when we come home from a long day at work and comfort us after our breakups. They put up with our friends and busy schedules and wait for us to give them what they need. When you have spent years with your precious companions and shared a life with them, it can be so hard to watch them age and deal with all that comes with the end of life. Pets don’t live as long as us, so eventually (if you are lucky) this is something you will have to encounter.
As pet owners, we aren’t ready for our pets to get old. We see them as the little creatures we adopted and want them to be with us forever. Dealing with the sicknesses and illnesses that come with advanced age are often too much for us to handle when it comes to our little ones. Because we love our pets so much, we owe it to them to provide them with extra support and comfort as they age.
My Elderly Cat Miko
Helping Your Pets Age With Grace
- Be extra mindful of your pet’s health. As they get older, our pets tend to have more health issues. Many of these aliments can be treated if detected early. Note any changes in your pet’s behavior. Watch to see if they are eating and drinking. Take them to the vet when you are concerned.
- Provide the small comforts for your pets that will improve their quality of life, especially if you notice that they can no longer do certain things. If you older pet can longer jump onto the bed with ease, provide steps or a ramp to make it easier. If your pet seems to have trouble with arthritis, get a comfortable bed or heated pad to prevent joints from getting too stiff. By doing these types of things, your pet can still be with you and be safe.
- Get the right kind of food. Our pets’ digestive systems change with age. They might not be able to eat the same fatty foods because their metabolism slows down and they are less active. Buying lean, high quality food can help your pet feel better and stay in shape.
- Reassure your pets that you are still best friends. While older pets might spend more time sleeping and less time playing, they still need your attention to keep their minds and bodies active. Talk to your pet (talk with your hands if your pet is going deaf), play with your pet and continue to teach your pet new things. Older pets need simulation, especially as they may start to go senile.
- Be sensitive. Don’t force your elderly dog to run a mile or expect your elderly cat to chase a mouse all around the house if they are not physically able to do these things. Instead of being overly disappointed that they cannot do the same activities, find activities that they can do and make them fun. Make new memories with your older pets.
Enjoy your older pets. Celebrate the years you have had together on a daily basis, appreciate that you still have them around and give them the best care. Don't distance yourself from your aging pets. Adapt and change with your pets. Savor the time you have left together and make it last. Your pets will love you so much for taking such good care of them.