If your cat or dog is over 7 years old, he is considered geriatric and may have different physical and nutritional needs than a younger pet. Check out these tips to make sure your furry friend grows older safely and healthy.
1. Don’t skip vet appointments. In fact, as your pet ages, he may require more frequent vet checkups– much like humans. As pets age, their senses begin to dull. Be aware of any noticeable changes to gait or vision, but a vet can check your pet’s vision and hearing. And be sure not to skip any annual vaccinations.
2. Keep him active. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for an older pet’s physical and mental health and low impact exercises, such as a walk outside, can help do that. Walking is also one of the best ways to keep older pets’ joints lubricated and to keep their senses sharp. You’ll want to be careful of strenuous or high impact play and activities that can actually damage your pet’s joints. Ask your vet for a list of age-appropriate exercises.
3.Change his diet. Older pets require a well balanced diet that is lower in calories, higher in fiber but still has adequate protein and fat. Many pet food manufacturers make foods specially formulated for senior dietary needs. If you stick to the same formula, be aware of the amount you’re feeding your older pet. Older pets can struggle with mobility and vision problems, which makes them less activity. A high calorie diet coupled with inactivity can lead to obesity — which itself can lead to a host of health problems.