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How to Keep Your Senior Pets Happy and Healthy

As pets get older, they can develop certain diseases or conditions that affect their quality of life. These problems might make it hard for them to walk and move around or see or hear clearly. Other problems can cause changes in their behavior. You can help keep your senior pet happy and healthy by watching for early signs of problems and taking steps to ease symptoms. Keep in mind that managing or treating problems that affect senior pets with help from your vet can prevent complications and improve their quality of life.

Joint Problems

Arthritis can cause your pet’s joints to become sore and stiff, which makes it more difficult to get around. Watch for signs of this disease, such as favoring one limb, trouble standing up or sitting down, a lower activity level and being unwilling to jump. Bring your pet to the vet for an exam if you do notice any of these signs. You can help lower the risk of arthritis or prevent it from becoming worse by making sure your pet gets plenty of physical activity each day. Adding natural supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine to your pet’s diet can also help, since these are important for healthy joints.

Hearing and Vision Problems

Pets can gradually develop hearing or vision problems as they get older. They might startle easily when approaches or not respond to verbal commands due to hearing loss. They might bump into furniture or other items around the house if they have vision problems. You’ll need to make adjustments to help your senior pet cope with hearing or vision problems, such as using hand signals rather than verbal commands or blocking off stairs to prevent falls.

Mental Acuity

Pets can experience cognitive decline as they get older, which can lead to behavioral changes. Pets with mental acuity problems might bark more often, become more anxious, have accidents in the house, wander around more and do repetitive activities. Schedule a vet visit to rule out other conditions and for advice on caring for a senile pet. You can help protect your pet’s cognitive abilities in good shape by providing mental stimulation through puzzle toys, socialization and other activities that keep the brain active.

If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, keep in mind that animal shelters and rescue groups often have seniors who need a good home. Some pet owners surrender older pets rather than continuing to care for them, and many of those who want to adopt tend to overlook senior pets. Consider fostering, adopting or rescuing a senior pet, so you can give them a caring and comfortable home while they provide you with plenty of love and companionship.

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