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Senior Pet Care: How to Help Your Aging Animals Thrive




While we don’t want to think about our pets getting older, it is a completely natural part of their life cycle. As owners, it’s important to understand what it means to have an aging animal so that we can offer them the best possible care. The best care includes proper nutrition and medical welfare, as well as attentiveness to their changing needs. By holistically understanding and putting into practice the care your best friends require, you can ensure that they are happy and healthy and continue to thrive! 


Coyote Ridge is a vet clinic in Fort Collins, serving loved pets from all around Northern Colorado. With decades of experience, here is our expert insight to provide the best senior pet care possible. 


Keep Aging Pets Comfortable


When caring for an aging pet, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible: 


Easy Accessibility


Older pets will need slightly more help accessing things they previously did not need help with. Make sure everything your dog needs is within easy reach so they don't have to go too far to find their water, food, toys, and bed. This may include adjustments such as raised water and food bowls as well as steps to climb up on the bed and sofa. 


Bathroom Help


Aging animals will likely require trips outside more often in order to relieve themselves. Their bladders may not be as strong, and they may face incontinence or other problems associated with a changing diet. 


More Rest


Older pets will need more rest throughout the day. Be sure to provide them with somewhere quiet where they won’t be disturbed, such as a soft, cozy bed in a place that’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 


Floor Traction


Smooth and slippery floors can be difficult for aging animals to walk on, so put a rug or carpet down to give them something to grip. 


Health and Welfare


Staying on top of your aging pet’s health and welfare will be more important than ever. 


Regular Wellness Exams


Take your pet for regular veterinary checkups to make sure that they’re feeling good and not sick or in pain. Vets are able to spot issues that might not be as obvious for someone without a trained eye for such things. Regular wellness exams will also ensure they are getting any and all medicine they might need. 


Watch for Common Issues 


Vets are unable to be around your pet as much as you are, so it’s important for owners to be aware of and keep an eye out for common health issues such as arthritis, vision or hearing problems, cognitive disorders, etc. If you spot something that seems wrong, don’t hesitate to contact your local vet. Hearing and eyesight deterioration are common, so don’t get upset with them if they seem to ignore you! Likewise, try to avoid making sudden loud noises so as not to frighten and startle them. 


Changing Needs


Older animals tend to slow down as they age, but it’s very important that they still get access to regular exercise and mental stimulation! 


Regular Exercise


Pets will not be able to exercise as much as they used to. Fortunately, walking them frequently for short distances will help to keep their weight down. Consider investing in a coat to keep them warm and dry in the winter and refrain from taking them for walks during the hottest part of the day in the summer. For house animals, make sure to provide them with toys to keep them moving and entertained. 


If your aging pet seems to be stiff or has trouble getting up and down stairs, off and on the couch, or to and from the bed, they might be experiencing arthritis or another condition that a veterinarian may be able to help with. 


Mental Stimulation


Older pets can suffer from age-related cognitive decline, so providing them with mental stimulation opportunities and enrichment is very important. Toys, playing, and puzzles are all great ways to challenge their minds and help keep them from getting bored. 


Proper Nutrition 


As pets age, their nutritional requirements will change. A trusted veterinarian can help determine what is best for your animal, but be sure to do the following: 


Monitor


Once again, you are around your pet far more often than a vet, so it’s important to keep an eye on how much your animal is eating and drinking. Changes, whether drastic or less so over time, should be communicated to your vet to ensure it isn’t due to any medical issues. 


Prevent Competition


This is especially a problem for dogs, but make sure older pets get the same amount of access to food and water. Younger dogs may eat all the food quickly, leaving less for the aging ones. 


Type of Nutrition


Aging pets thrive when provided optimal nutrition and dietary intake. Our specialists at Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic can help! We sell specialized food for senior pets and pets with certain health conditions, guaranteeing your pets receive the exact food they need. 


Looking For a Vet Clinic in Fort Collins?


If you have any concerns about your aging animal, always check with a vet. Changes in behavior may be signs of underlying issues, not just down to old age - so make sure to take them for a regular health check. Even if your pet is happy and living like normal in their golden years, it’s wise to get in the habit of bringing them in for a checkup from time to time. 


If you have any questions, or if you would like to introduce your pet to our friendly family, contact or visit Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic today!

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