Pet Health: How to Take Care of Our Senior Pets

An aging pet...I know we don’t like to think about our fur babies getting older. It happens to the best of us and the fact of life is, we all grow old, including our dogs and cats.

I didn’t like to think about it either until my sweet Chloe and Snoopy started to get up there in years.

There are some key signs to look for as our pets age that I want to share with you in today’s blog post. These are signs that I saw in my own pets’ lives.

I also have a special treat because I was able to have a chat with my friend, Connie Price, who is an experienced positive reinforcement dog trainer and Registered Veterinary Technician.

So let's have a candid talk about senior pets and how to take care of them so they can live the best possible life as they age.

Vision Loss

Not seeing well is one of the signs that our fur babies are indeed aging. Vision loss is usually gradual, so it’s not always immediately recognizable to pet owners.

Here are some signs you will want to watch out for:

Obvious Signs:

  • They may struggle to make eye contact with you
  • Have difficulty finding their toys and food or water bowls
  • They may start bumping into walls or furniture

Subtler Signs:

  • They may be reluctant to jump on or off the couch
  • They may have a new level of anxiety
  • They may become clingy

Another thing to look out for is that your pet may even begin to show aggression because their vision loss may leave them feeling vulnerable and more inclined to act offensively in an attempt to keep themselves safe.

For more information about vision loss, take a look at this:

Hearing Loss

Many senior pets suffer from hearing loss as they grow older. They can become less responsive to you as well as the world around them. Your ability to communicate with your pet may become difficult when they can’t hear you. And that can be frustrating for you and stressful for your fur baby.

Here are some signs you will want to watch out for:

Obvious Signs:

  • They don’t look at you when you call for them
  • They ignore exciting sounds like a squeaky toy

Subtler Signs:

  • They sleep more soundly than usual
  • Not disturbed by loud noises that they would have responded to in the past
  • Excessive barking or whining

For more information on hearing loss, take a look at this:

How to take care of a senior pet

Taking good care of your aging fur babies’ needs and watching their health is the absolute best way to make sure they live a long and happy life.

To do that, make sure you have these 5 things in place:

  1. A nutritious diet plan
  2. If they are in pain- a pain management program
  3. Make sure they are still getting their physical fitness and mental stimulation in
  4. Have comfortable bedding for them to sleep on
  5. Make sure you are taking them to the vet at least two times a year

Comfy beds for aging pets

Tips from Connie Price, a RVT and positive reinforcement dog trainer:

When I asked her what toys she would recommend for senior dogs that become deaf?

She said toys that are visually stimulating, textured, soft to cuddle, and chew toys. Chew toys are great for dogs that chew when stressed.

There are some great dog toys in the shop if you want to take a look at them here

Toys for aging dogs
She also passed along these helpful articles for dog owners whose dogs may be having hearing loss or becoming deaf. The first one is about deaf dogs. And the second one is a command you can teach your dog called the “watch me” command.

Deaf Dogs:

Watch Me Command:

Here's Connie Prices Info: She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Registered Veterinary Technician.

You can check out her Gentle Dog Training here.

She offers group obedience classes, private lessons, and behavior modifications using Operant Conditioning. It's a science based method that is used to train Orcas and other exotic animals. 

I hope this helps you think about what may be going on with your pet as they age. Even if you have an adult dog or cat, these are good things to be aware of as they age.

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared for the future.