This month is National Senior Pet Month, so shelters all over the country are either reducing or waiving the adoption fees of their ‘old’ resident pets. Many people believe that senior pets are not worth adopting. This is far from the truth, as senior pets are often the sweetest and most gentle. To make it easier for people who decide to adopt a senior pet, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to care for them.
- Make sure to get the correct food. Many pet food companies make age specific kibble, which provides the nutrients and vitamins your pet needs most.
- Keep lots of toys around. Senior pets can go senile, so giving them things to stimulate their brains keeps them sharp and playful for a long time.
- Take them for regular vet check-ups. A lot of animals don’t want their owners to know when they’re sick or injured. They’ll act like their happy, healthy selves no matter what, but it is important to get the okay from the vet.
- Brush your dog’s teeth. A lot of health problems can be avoided if you keep your old pup’s teeth squeaky clean.
- Ensure that their exercise is age appropriate. Don’t take them out for a three hour hike, but do make sure they get out for a thirty minute walk everyday.
- Make sure they’re comfy. Lots of older pets develop arthritis or other health problems. Providing them with soft bedding eases their pain and makes for warm and cozy naptime.
- Love them just like you would a younger pet. The only difference is that your pet is now older and wiser. We can learn a lot from taking care of them and seeing how they deal with the curve balls life has thrown at them.
During my time as a pet sitter, I worked with many kind, amazing animals. My favorite (don’t tell the others!) was a nine-year old yellow lab named Rocky who always had a smile on his face (featured in picture). Working with Rocky taught me a lot. He is a sweet old man and an utter joy to be around. Everyone who saw him instantly broke out in a smile. He brought so much joy into my life and my work. He, and every other senior pet, deserves patience and love, just like any other animal.