5 Ways to Increase the Life and Quality of Life for Your Senior Pet

November is Senior Pet Month, and with 57% of us owning a pet at some point, it’s important to know how to get as many years with your pet as possible.

To help keep senior pets in better health and enjoying their golden years for even longer, pet experts at TrustedHousesitters have joined forces with veterinary surgeon, Pete Wedderburn.

“As humans, we know that if we want to live for as long as possible, we need to focus on issues like diet, exercise, sleep, mental health and minimising stress. For our pets, the same general principles apply”, Pete says.

Five ways to increase the life, and quality of life, of your senior pet

  1. Adapt their diet as they age

As your pet ages, their digestive system changes, so it’s vital to switch their diet to include food appropriate for their age. “Choose a good quality diet that has been designed for older pets, with high-quality ingredients and nutrients that have been adjusted to meet the different needs of an older animal,” Pete says. “Also, make sure they have continual access to fresh water: change their drinking bowl every day so that the water is never fusty and stagnant”.

  1. Invest in key supplements

Supplements such as probiotics and prebiotic can help  your pet’s gut health and immune system as they age. For dogs, prebiotic-rich foods, such as broccoli and sweet potato, may offer extra support to  the vital organs and nervous system, so consider including these in their diet.

For cats, look for a gut-friendly and fibre-rich cat food. Cats require more specific pre and probiotics, so giving them human foods won’t be beneficial.

  1. Keep mental stimulation and enrichment going

As pets get older, it’s important to keep their brains active with regular stimulation. Play time, walks with lots of sniffing and time to socialise are essential each day, even as they age. “Make sure that your pet has enough daily stimulation to keep their minds active”, Pete says. “As well as regular walks and play, give them regular attention during the day, and try offering food-releasing toys (such as Kongs) to give them something to do when you are not there beside them”.

  1. Dental health is vital 

As well as helping your pet’s teeth to look good, maintaining your pet’s teeth and gums will help prevent oral issues and pain in your pet, and even help to avoid organ damage from bacteria that can be carried into the bloodstream leading to additional health problems. Good oral care is essential as pets enter their senior years and should be taken care of daily. As well as brushing their teeth, dental stick chews and some vegetables are good for freshening breath and fighting plaque.

  1. Ensure you’re minimising stressors for your pets

As with mental health, older pets can be more affected by stress than their younger counterparts. Pete explains, “Try to understand what your pet likes and what upsets them. As a good example, if you go away on holiday, consider having them cared for by a petsitter in your own home, rather than subjecting them to the stress of boarding kennels or a cattery”.

If you’re going on holiday and you have a senior pet, opting for a pet sitter can be a great way of minimising stress and ensuring your pet is cared for on a one-to-one basis. To learn more, visit https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/

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