Caring for Elderly Pets
As your pet gets older you will find that they need more care and can become more high maintenance.
At Natural Pet we have Pipi – also known as Pip, Pipsqueak, Pipi long stockings, Pipalicious and a few other names my partner calls her that are to rude to put on here.
She is 15 and a half (yes the half matters when you are this old). She has been with me long before Natural Pet and Tagiwig. In her younger years she grew up with Tag which the Tagiwig brand was named after. I have had her since 8 weeks old, where I could hold her in the palm of my hands and she only weighed less than 1kilo.
We have been through a lot together and now she is old and needing more and more care. Below are some tips on how you can look after your aging pet.
Feeding a good quality food is very important, not only for their health but also their weight. Your pets eating habits may change, thinking about things like how they may find it hard to eat on a slippery floor, so putting rugs under their feet so they can grip might make it easier.
Pipi has certain ways of eating now. She has a huge bowl, this is because you have to roll her meat into mouth sized meat balls and place them a certain space apart, as she doesn’t like her nose to touch the other meat balls as she picks them up. If you don’t do this she won’t eat and annoy you till you get it right.
What to do: If you don’t raw feed already and it is of interest, google raw feeding to get some ideas. Adding supplements such as chondroitin, glucosamine, deer sinew and flax seed oil, help support joints and muscles.
Bad teeth can lead on to many health problems, so it is something that needs to be checked regularly in your elderly pet. Looking in the mouth to check their teeth is a good start, if you suddenly notice an odour or bad breath this could mean a rotten tooth or other health problems.
What to do: having something soft to chew that takes a while is good. You can get dental chews or things like raw chicken frames or necks are great. Chewing does so many thing for their health, it massages their gums and cleans their teeth at the same time, the chewing action gets their digestive enzymes flowing so helps them to digest their food easier, it gives their face, neck and potentially their whole body muscles a good work out, and it gives them something to do, so makes them happy.
Older pets are more prone to health problems – diabetes, cancers, diseases, heart, liver or kidney problems are all more common in older pets. They can also start to lose their hearing and site. Some, especially females can become incontinent. Pipi now can get quite itchy, her skin gets really hot and clammy, this is because as they age their immune system is reducing so their skin is not sleuthing off and renewing as it once was.
What to do: Keep an eye out for changes in your pet: - are they acting different, looking for quite dark places, doing things they would not usually do. This can be a big red flag that things are changing. Taking them to your nearest health provider to get a check-up is a good idea. With Pipi’s clammy skin, I just bath her regularly. Over summer we have a large trough so I dunk her in that most days, I don’t use shampoo, just rub her skin to help get rid of the old skin, it also helps to cool her down. It works a treat. Over winter it is not such a problem so I just bath her when she starts to get itchy.
Exercise is so important for any pet, but especially when they get older. Maintaining a good exercise regime is vital; pets that are kept fit and active tend to have less long term health problems.
What do to: walkies every day is a great gentle exercise, just remember that as they get older the level of exercise will change and not be so demanding, you need to change with their needs. I used to take Pipi on an hour walk every day, now we go on a 20 minutes stroll around our block of land, she is happy after that and goes for her morning sleep.
Many elderly pets will develop arthritis. Signs of this may be slowing down, not being able to run or be as active as they were, trouble jumping into the car, slow to rise or lie down and may be reluctant to do certain things.
What to do: Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is a biggie, your pet being overweight can exaggerate this problem. Feeding a good clean diet, at Tagiwig we like raw feeding, it is more along the track of what they were designed to eat, and their body doesn’t have to process all the chemical, by-products and preservatives. Adding things like glucosamine and flax oils to their diet helps. We have our Keep Moving which assist pets with arthritis, and is a big seller especially over the winter months.
Bedding and general accommodation
As they age and find it hard to get up and down, you can look at their bedding, there are some great orthopaedic beds around that support their bodies well. If they struggle with stairs you can looks at ramps or carpets on hard floors where they usually like to sleep, this can give them something to grip as they get up.
At Tagiwig we have many remedies that can help elderly pets, below are a few, but you can also call or email us with any specific problems you many have, we are here to help.
BladderTone for incontinence
Keep Moving for arthritis
Kidney Tonic for kidney disease and support
Liver Tonic for liver disease and support
Heart Tonic for cardiac issues
The biggest thing you can do for your elderly pet is to realise they are getting older and treat them like that. Notice the subtle changes in them and change things to make them more comfortable. Be observant for any health changes; maybe take them for an annual check-up, so anything problems can be picked up early.
But mostly - love them like there’s no tomorrow, as pretty soon for them their won’t be.
Paulette and the Tagiwig Team
Posted: Wed 24 Jul 2019