Families often take the warm-hearted decision of taking in an older pet. Cats or dogs that are towards the end of their life can make loving companions and are often very much in need of care. Older pets may be homeless if their owner passes away, and sometimes elderly pets are simply abandoned because their existing owners don’t find them as attractive and playful as they were when they were younger.
Some pets are lucky enough to have a single family care for them over their entire life – from their time as a puppy or a kitten through to their last days. It can be difficult for families to see a pet that they love very much age with time and approach the end of their life. However, there is quite a lot that you can do to take better care of your older pet.
The problems that older pets experience
You can spot age in a pet by signs such as eyes that are clouding over, a graying coat, and weight gain or loss. Changes in behavior can be another giveaway, as older pets can become disorientated and change the way in which they interact with their owners.
These signs indicate that pets are approaching their later life stages and should prompt you to carefully watch your pet for symptoms of disease. As with humans, age-related diseases in pets can be treated more easily if they are spotted early on. Veterinary surgeons are very good at assisting with the issues that older pets experience, so don’t be afraid to ask your local vet for advice.
Supporting an older pet
Exercise is important for older pets. You may need to be a bit more patient with your pet and be realistic about how much exercise they can tolerate, but neither should you allow a pet to completely skip exercising. Weight control is very important; many of the illnesses that humans struggle with that are related to weight gain, such as diabetes, also occur in pets.
Some older pets can struggle with certain physical activities, so make adjustments to your home if necessary, ensuring that food and water are easily accessible and that your pet has somewhere comfortable and warm to rest.
Dealing with the passing away of a pet
Once your pet has reached the end of its life, you will want to remember the special times that you had together. The grieving process can be made easier by collecting photographs in an album and by arranging a pet cremation that allows you to preserve your fond memories. Though pets are with us for a relatively short period of time, we can protect the warm moments that they give us for an eternity.
Knowing that you have given your best in caring for and protecting your pet throughout its life is a good way to preserve the warm feelings that you have for your pet. In the final years of your pet’s life, you should take extra care to make sure that they have the highest quality of life that they could have despite their advancing age.