Caring for Elderly Pets

It may be difficult to believe that your pet has reached old age, but the fact is most pets become geriatric at around age 7 years old. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6 years of age.

Caring for a senior pet can be challenging especially if you are not prepared for what may come. Our goal is to provide you with tips and information to help you understand the changes your senior pet may be going through and how to deal with those changes.

Tips for Caring for Older Pets

One of the most important things you can do is love your pet. Pets can sense when you are nervous or stressed, but old age in pets is nothing to be nervous or stressed about. If your pet has any medical issues or changes to their health, speak with your veterinarian.

Caring for older pets can be difficult at times, especially if your elderly pet has a chronic medical condition or exhibits behavior changes.

Possible behavior changes in Elderly Pets

  • Increased reaction to sounds
  • Increased vocalization
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased interaction w/humans
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased response to commands
  • Increased aggressive/protective behavior
  • Increased anxiety
  • House soiling
  • Decreased self-hygiene/grooming
  • Repetitive activity
  • Increased wandering
  • Change in sleep cycles

Senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment. Depending on your pet’s situation, your vet may recommend:

10 Tips to Help Elderly Pet’s Live Better

  1. Watch for changes in behavior
  2. Schedule regular vet visits
  3. Change your pet’s diet
  4. Keep your pet moving and active
  5. Look for signs of arthritis
  6. Make your home senior pet friendly
  7. Be patient
  8. Help your pet stay clean
  9. Be aware of the signs of cognitive dysfunction
  10. Stay focused on your pet’s quality of life

For more information about caring for your elderly pet, read our blog.