Pets

Taking Care of an Elderly Pet

One thing that we’ve come to realise now that Chuck is older is that taking care of an elderly dog is vastly different to caring for a younger one. His drives have completely changed now that he’s an old man (he’s the equivalent of around 80 years old in human years) and we’ve had to make some changes to accomodate him and keep him healthy for as long as possible. Here’s some of the things you might want to consider if you have an elderly pet:

Mobility

Just like with old people, old pets can struggle with mobility. Chuck used to race up and down the stairs with ease, walk for hours and think nothing of jumping up and down onto the bed or sofa to snuggle with us. Now, he’s a lot less mobile, so we’ve placed water bowls both up and downstairs so that he never has to go too far for a drink and we’re also looking into getting some pet steps so that he can get up onto the bed without having to jump.

Diet

This one is a double-edge sword. Now that he’s less mobile, he doesn’t exercise as much and therefore doesn’t need to eat as much. However, since his drives have turned away from procreation, they’ve turned firmly towards food so he acts like he’s hungry MOST of the time! We’re careful to limit table scraps and have moved him onto a diet which is best for senior dogs which gives him the nutrients he needs with fewer calories so that he doesn’t get fat!

Exercise

We know for a fact that he’s suffering with heart problems and suspect that he had a heart attack sometime last year. This means that the dog who used to walk for literally hours now barely makes it 800m. We’ve decided that we allow him to completely dictate how far he wants to go; on days when he’s not feeling it, we leave him be or let him have a little plod to the end of the road and back, but if he seems pretty spritely we let him dictate the pace and distance and it seems to be working pretty well.

Vet Care

Some pet owners are lucky to rarely ever need to take their pet to the vet, but once they get older it’s vital to get at least a check-up. Chuck takes a variety of medications for his heart and an anti-inflammatory for his joints which means that he gets to live out his old age with minimum pain or discomfort. If you’re worried about vets bills, the PDSA offers treatment if you’re in receipt of benefits, so it might be worth having a look if you have an elderly pet.

Temperament

We’re incredibly lucky in the respect that Chuck is an amazingly wellbehaved dog with our kids and is soft and loving with them. However, now that he’s old and struggling with stiffness etc. we make a point to make sure that the kids aren’t too rough with him and give him plenty of space. We trust him completely but it would be heartbreaking for him to get hurt or feel overwhelmed and lose his cool with one of them. We don’t think for a second it would happen but it protects ALL THREE OF THEM if we remove the risk altogether.

Do you have an elderly pet? Have you found any new challenges have arisen since they’ve got older? I’d love to hear from you.

9 thoughts on “Taking Care of an Elderly Pet

  1. I liked what you said about how pet steps can help them be more mobile and make sure that they can get to their food bowls. My mom has a Daschund that she really loves and he is getting a lot older so he wants to make sure that he is comfortable in the home. She would really like to get a professional vet to help her take care of him and make sure that he is healthy.

  2. Yes, Before bringing a pet into your house it is really important to know how to take care of them. Always, you need to provide for pets needs, both physical and emotional. This means providing nutritious and BEST DOG FOOD, clean water, shelter, and the opportunity to live in a safe place. Caring for a dog is a very big responsibility for us, and dog ownership is not something to enter into lightly. I like your thought. I am going to share this article on my facebook timeline.

  3. If you’re seeking a home health aide who will become your loved one’s primary companion during the day, it’s important to discuss cultural, age and gender differences with the care recipient and the rest of your family first, so you can find the right match. Even better, King suggests a trial period of a week or so “to see how everyone feels about the caregiver and how the caregiver feels about the patient and scope of work.”

  4. With in-home care, families that are unable to serve as primary caregivers have the benefit of knowing that their loved ones are receiving professional, compassionate, and personalized care in the convenience of their own homes.

  5. From time to time, when I worked as a social worker in a skilled nursing facility, visiting family members complained to me about certain staff members. Residents too often were worried that if they themselves griped to senior managers, there might be some form of retaliation.

  6. Many seniors today prefer to live at home. In addition to feeling independent, seniors appreciate familiar surroundings. A senior should not have to give up the house or apartment she loves, her personal possessions or her pets. Home care can help her stay connected to everything she cares about. She can be happy and comfortable during her elderly years.

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