As pets age, they require mindfulness from their owner in ensuring that all of their requirements are still being met as their needs will change as they get older. Not unlike humans, pets are living to much older ages these days than previously. This is largely in part to better vaccines and treatments for diseases, as well as better information about caring for pets that allows owners to be more aware and to seek treatment during the early stages of disease.
Some of the cognitive changes that may occur in older pets could cause behavioural changes, which can cause anxiety for owners if they are not aware of what is happening. These can include a loss of vision and hearing, which can make them less tolerant of small children. Loss of hearing can contribute to them becoming startled more easily, which may lead to anxiety that could be evident in how they approach people.
Similar to humans, when pets age they still need a balanced diet, but they will require more fibre to ensure healthy bowel movements and prevent them feeling physically uncomfortable. They will most likely eat smaller portions and their diet needs to take into account any of the current health issues that your pet may be experiencing. Foods are chosen specifically to alleviate stress on the kidneys and other organs if they are suffering with kidney diseases, amongst others. Most pet foods take into account the dietary changes of older pets, providing fewer calories with more protein. There are also a lot of supplements on the market to accommodate the changing dietary needs of ageing pets, so be sure to consult your vet about what your pets may need to increase in their diets.
Some of the lifestyle changes that an older pet will experience include weight gain, due to less exercise, adjustments to their sleeping routine as well as accidents due to incontinence. This means that owners might need to provide extra comfortable sleeping quarters for their pets; they should also allow them to have more toilet visits outside in order to do their business.
Because older pets are less energetic they will need frequent light exercise to prevent obesity and other health issues. At Durack Pet Motel, we encourage regular vet checks to ensure that as pets age they are getting everything they need, and live out the rest of their days as happily as possible.