Winter isn’t exactly brutal in Montgomery, but that doesn’t mean we don’t experience our share of ice, wind, and freezing temps. Although people may enjoy the seasonal change and relish the opportunity to wear boots and sweaters, senior pets are more likely to experience aches and pains, flare-ups of chronic conditions, or even depression.
As the temps drop this time of year, let Carriage Hills Animal Hospital help you tackle winter senior pet care with our expert tips!
As your adult pet reaches the age of 6 or 7, he or she is no longer the spry pup or kitten he or she once was. In fact, for many pets this milestone marks the beginning of his or her “golden years”. At this age, more effort is needed in helping your pet maintain a healthy lifestyle, including an increase in senior pet care.
Senior Pets at the Vet
Once a pet reaches senior status, we recommend a change in your pet’s wellness exam schedule. Instead of the annual exams your pet has had in the past, we encourage pet owners to transition to bi-annual exams, instead. Continue…
For many senior pets, winter can be a difficult, and potentially dangerous, season. Cold weather, an abundance of seasonal people food, and a potential lack of exercise can all affect your pet’s physical and emotional well-being. But with a little forward thinking and some extra care and attention, winter does not have to be a hardship when it comes to senior pet care.
Weathering Winter Weather
Many geriatric animals have less strength and muscle reserves. So, quite often, other underlying problems may surface during the winter months. But helping your senior pet through the winter does not need to be difficult. It’s likely you already know what needs your pet will have based on the health issues he or she is already experiencing.
For many senior pets, the aches and pains of arthritis are often felt more intensely during the winter months. Chilled muscles and joints do not move and glide smoothly, and often it can seem as if the chill in the air can permeate right down to the bone.
Helping senior pets suffering from arthritis can be as simple as providing daily, short walks to limber tired muscles. Keeping older pets active, despite the winter weather, is important for both your pet’s physical and emotional health. If your pet’s feet seem to be particularly sensitive to the cold ground, consider getting him or her paw protection, such as the booties made by Ruffwear. Not only will these boots help keep your pet’s feet warm, but they will also protect his or her paws from the small cuts and abrasions caused by ice and snow.
Likewise, help your arthritic pet by keeping him or her off of cold, hard floors by using padded orthopedic beds with plush coverings. Be certain to keep them in places your pet loves to curl up.
Finally, keep in mind that older pets are less agile and more likely to fall, so monitor your dog as it navigates steps to prevent falls. Consider using a portable ramp or carpeted stairs both inside and out to help your pet get to where he or she needs to go.
Food, Water, and Shelter
During the winter months it is vitally important that pets have easy access to nutritious food, clean and un-frozen water, and warm, dry shelter. This is especially true for senior pets, which are more prone to the potential hazards that frostbite, hypothermia, malnutrition and dehydration can bring.
Senior pets especially need to be well protected from the winter weather and should be housed indoors at all times throughout the winter months.
Likewise, be certain to monitor, and if necessary restrict, your aging pet’s intake of human food, especially around the holidays. The rich, fatty foods typically served at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the like can be overwhelming to your pet’s digestive system and can make your pet quite ill.
Keeping Your Senior Pet Happy
Like us, many pets can get a little blue during the winter months. This is especially true of senior pets. Often, cold and stormy weather can keep both humans and animals indoors, reducing the amount of exercise and activity in your pet’s daily life.
Keep your senior pet happy and healthy by staying active, despite the cold weather. Even a quick walk around the block will get your pet’s blood pumping and help to clear his or her head with the fresh air and familiar scents of the neighborhood.
As winter approaches, please feel free to contact us if you are concerned about your senior pet’s health or safety. We are always happy to help.
For many senior pets, osteoarthritis can be just as common an affliction as it is for humans. And, just like us, the aches and pains associated with the condition can be both painful and debilitating. Your pet’s golden years should be a time of quiet and supportive warmth, and it pains us to think that your beloved pet may be suffering. Continue…