The tips below are easy ways to positively impact your aging companions life – some of the suggestions below will help strengthen the human-animal bond and some will aid in keeping you in tune with any changes happening with your pet. But the most amazing aspect of the tips below, is that ALL of these suggestions can play a big part in keeping your senior pet’s brain sharp – it is as simple as spending time with them, and making sure they are getting some key supplements that can improve total body health!
1) Brush and groom them! Besides feeling amazing and keeping their skin and hair coat healthy, it gives your pet what they want most – quality time with the people they love. It also allows you to keep a close eye on any changes – lumps, skin changes, weight loss or gain, and more.
2) Brush their teeth – We know dental disease greatly increases the risk of developing other disease because of constant bacteria from the diseased mouth entering the rest of the body. Even if their teeth are not great, even if they could use a dental cleaning, start brushing TODAY!
3) Take them for a walk – it can be for an hour, it can be for 5 minutes – sometimes older dogs aren’t begging to go out like they once were as puppies, but getting them outdoors for some exercise is good for everyone – quality time spent together – check, exercise – check, stimulating those sense (sniffing, seeing, hearing) – check…. All good things!
4) Play with them! Throw the ball, Get them to do tricks, tug of war, laser tag, hiding games – all of these things greatly improve any animal’s mood. It can aid in preventing cognitive decline in our senior animals as it keeps the brain active!
5) Give Omega’s – Omegas 3 and 6 truly are little miracle workers – they are such powerful antioxidants that they improve the health of almost every organ in the body – the brain, heart, liver, joints, skin, kidneys, and the bladder to name a few. By adding in a dose of omegas in your pet’s daily regime, you can easily help support their health as they age. A good dose to start is 30mg for every kg of weight (about a 1000 mg daily for a 30kg or 66lb dog, for example).
6) Change up their diet – Older animals aging bodies sometimes have a more difficult time getting what they need from their food. Depending on the animal, different recommendations could be made, but older age is definitely the time to rethink what your pet is eating. Higher quality protein diets are a must (not necessarily higher quantity protein diets), as older animals can have a harder time digesting and getting the nutrients they need from the protein in their food. The intake of calories may need to be adjusted based on weight loss or gain as well. Sometimes, older age makes it harder to smell or taste their food and be interested in eating at all. In these cases more tasty and fragrant foods may be needed. The other bonus about changing up the food is that it is a VERY easy way to add variety and spice up their life and keep it interesting in older age. Unless your pet has to be on a special diet it can be very fun for them to get a variety of meals. And ‘people’ food can be ok! Vegetables, fruits and lean meats can be tasty treats for our senior pets.
7) Give them a comfy place to rest – their body has worked hard over the years – invest in a comfortable dog or kitten bed for them to rest.
8) Give joint-protectants – glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin – these little joint fluid building blocks help to keep those joints moving smoothly and free from pain. Another added bonus is they can improve urinary tract health as well!
9) Be prepared – “he’s old” is not an excuse to let your pet’s health take a backseat – visit our webpage dedicated to our senior pets to get more information on getting your dog or cat through their senior years: http://www.centralvet.ca/senior-dog-wellness/
10) LOVE them. Did you know dogs and cats DO feel love for their human caregivers? The tone of voice, the physical interactions and time spent with them is something they feel on a deeper level. Welcome them when you get home, give their head a scratch, throw them the ball, give them a belly rub, talk to them – make the memories that will last!