Senior Pet FAQ
Senior animals make wonderful pets and excellent companions. There are many benefits to adding a senior pet to your family. Before you look past a senior, consider some of the benefits. Some of the great reasons to adopt a senior are:
- Predictable behavior – when a dog reaches senior status their personality is well developed. You’ll even know the full-grown size and activity level before you bring them home.
- Easy to train – who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Seniors require less monitoring and typically have a baseline of training.
- Lower exercise – senior dogs typically don’t want to run a marathon. They’d rather hang back and spend quality time hanging out with you in the comfort of a climate-controlled space. Take them for a short walk or a swim and today’s exercise is complete!
- More sleep for you! – Senior dogs are much more accustomed to the predictable daytime and evening patterns of their families. This means that your bedtime typically isn’t their play time, and Fido often has no problem staying asleep through the night.
Senior dogs do need some special accommodations.
To keep your dog at prime health, most veterinarians recommend a checkup every 6 months for any dog considered to be a senior. Senior status is typically dependent on age, but other factors such as breed or size can also be a factor.
As dogs age, they typically slow down. It can be challenging to ensure that they are getting enough exercise and to keep a healthy weight. Providing your pet with low-impact exercise is a great way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Low-impact activities include short walks, gentle play, indoor games, swimming, or hiking on flat terrain. Running long distances or taking a strenuous walk may be rough on joints, especially for pets who aren't used to that level of exercise. If weight is an issue, reach out to your vet for a weight loss plan. Talk to your veterinarian about whether your pet would benefit from a diet formulated for senior animals.
One of the most frequent problem areas for senior pets is their teeth! Unfortunately, bad oral health can end up affecting the whole body. Keep teeth and gums healthy by preventing tartar build-up. If too much tartar gets on your pet’s teeth it can cause a slew of health issues by allowing bacteria to get into the bloodstream. There are many ways you can prevent tartar build-up. This includes:
- Visit the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Counsel) for a list of dental chew and other oral health products
- Brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week
- Consult with your veterinarian about feeding a prescription dental health diet