This month is a good time to show appreciation for senior pets and those who adopt and care for them.

Sharing your life with a senior pet can be rewarding, but there are some challenges. Here’s some excellent advice from the veterinary experts at the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association on providing the best day-to-day care for senior dogs and cats at home.

For reference, a cat is considered to be senior after 8 years of age, small dogs at 8 years of age, and big dogs at 6 years of age.

Caring for Senior Dogs

  • Make sure your floors are not slippery if your dog suffers from arthritis.
  • Provide easy access to food and water bowls if your dog has limited movement, such as near a favorite sleeping spot.
  • Use potty pads in the home if your dog has incontinence issues. It’s important to keep their private parts clean and dry to prevent irritation and infection.

  • Place non-skid ramps over stairs and near elevated places (beds, couches, etc.) they like to sleep on. Sometimes your dog will not be able to climb a full flight of stairs, so adjust your expectations and accommodate her as needed.
  • Inspect your dog’s body for any new or unusual sores. Dogs with limited mobility can develop pressure point sores on their hips and elbows. Dogs not walking around that much will also need their toenails trimmed more often.

Caring for Senior Cats

  • Provide your senior cat with a wide, shallow litter box that’s easy to step in and out of. You can also buy a litter box ramp.
  • As with dogs, always provide easy access to food and water bowls.
  • Many senior cats will still enjoy sitting in high places, even if it’s difficult for them to jump. Use ramps and steps to make access easier.
  • Senior cats can be less flexible and have trouble grooming hard-to-reach places on the body. Regular brushing will help keep their fur in good condition.
  • An older cat’s toenails can grow thick and curl around into the paw pad. Keep them trimmed to prevent pain and infection.

For more tips on caring for your senior pet, check out this video from the American Veterinary Medical Association:


2 thoughts on “November is National Senior Pet Month

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