Age tends to sneak up on our furry friends. It might seem like your pet is running around the backyard one day and feebly trotting to its water bowl the next. And as they get older, your pet will require more care and attention. Pawstalk has listed some tips on managing your senior pet’s health, comfort, and overall well-being.
MANAGING YOUR ANIMAL’S STRESS
As your pet enters its senior years, it’s important to be aware of its changing needs. One of the most critical things you can do for your senior pet is to help them manage their stress. Just like humans, pets can experience anxiety and stress as they age. And, just like humans, this can lead to physical problems like a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, and difficulty sleeping.
Symptoms of stress in pets may include panting, shaking, drooling, barking, aggressiveness, destroying furniture or clothing, urinating or defecating in the house, and losing appetite. Talk to your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms in dogs or these symptoms in cats. They can help you create a plan to reduce your pet’s stress levels. This may include changes to their diet, exercise routine, or environment. It may also involve the use of supplements or medications. (One of the supplements I use with my own cats is RX Vitamins Calming Liquid from Chewy. I’m careful, however, to titrate up to the perfect dose rather than starting with the recommended dose. And, as always check with your veterinarian before starting any treatments.)
Moreover, keep tabs on your own stress levels. Pets tend to absorb their owner’s stress and anxiety, which can lead to aggressive behavior or other consequences. Be mindful of the stress you bring home from work, and look for ways to keep your pet calm. If possible, work from home occasionally to spend more time with your furry friend. At the very least, find a reliable pet sitter who can keep your pet company while you’re away.
FINDING ANIMAL INSURANCE
It’s important to prepare your animal for when they enter their senior years by getting health insurance for your animal. The time to do that is NOW, no matter what your animal’s age. In fact, the younger your animal is, the better it is to get pet insurance.
Veterinary care can be expensive, and you never know what can happen even at a young age. By insuring your animal starting in their early years, you will have lifelong protection especially as vet bills will only get more expensive as your animal gets older and develops age-related health problems. Those issues may, in fact, make it harder, or impossible, to even get insurance for your fur-famly member as they get older. Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of vet visits, medications, laboratory tests, x-rays, and more.
There are a variety of pet insurance plans available, so do your research carefully before choosing one. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered by your chosen plan. You should also consider whether you want a plan that covers preventive care or just unexpected illnesses and accidents, the latter being the most common.
Once you’ve chosen a plan that’s right for you and your senior pet, be sure to keep up with the monthly premiums so that your coverage doesn’t lapse. Start by researching this option to compare coverages, deductibles, premiums, and maximum ages.
Currently, the companies I recommend looking into are Pet’s Best, Healthy Paws and Embrace. (I would stay away from Trupanion, Banfield and Nationwide.) But there are new companies starting all the time. Pumpkin, Figo and Lemonade are just some of the newer offerings.
It’s essential to keep your senior pet mentally stimulated to help them stay sharp as they age. Dogs and cats can experience cognitive decline as they get older. Symptoms of cognitive decline in pets may include disorientation (getting lost in familiar places), staring into space for long periods of time, or apathy towards activities they used to enjoy (like playing with toys or going for walks).
To help keep your senior pet’s mind active and engaged, try providing them with puzzle feeders or toys filled with treats, hiding treats around the house for them to find, playing fetch or other simple games, teaching them new tricks, or taking them on lengthier walks in new locations. Providing your pet with mental stimulation will not only help them stay sharp as they age but also help reduce stress levels and boost their overall emotional well-being.
Caring for a senior pet can be challenging, but it’s also enriching. By following these tips, you can help your pet live a longer, healthier, and happier life. Don’t forget to talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or behavior—they can provide you with additional resources and support.
Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about our animal communication and reiki services? Visit Pawstalk.net today!
By Mike Nicholson
Photo Credit: Pexels