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The Geriatric Pet: How To Ensure They're Happy During Their Last Days

By Edited Jan 12, 2016 0 3

Your Pet Is Getting Older

Remember when you picked up your pet from the adoption center or bought them from the pet shop? They were so adorable,young and full of life. It was a comfort knowing you had their entire life to bond with them, train them and spoil them with tasty treats when they behaved the way you wanted. The sad truth is, however, that your pet has slowed down and they're starting to show signs of aging. 

Regardless of whether your friend has fur, scales or feathers, aging is a part of life. Unfortunately, it happens for animals a lot faster than it happens to humans so it's important to be able to continue to provide them with the support and comfort you've given them their entire lives. The thought of watching a best friend pass away can be overwhelming, but when try to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone who's always taken care of you all of a sudden disappeared once you started getting gray hairs and you could no longer fetch your favorite stick? Geriatric pets are often given to shelters or abandoned at kennels because their owners just can't cope.

The great news is, if you really love your friend, you can be there for them as they spend their last days with you. What's even better is, you'll be able to provide for them the things they need to make sure they're comfortable and don't pass away in pain and heartache. Try to be there for them and understand they don't need you to abandon them: they need you to continue to love them as much as you did the first day you adopted them.

Pay Attention To Their Actions

geriatric pet
Credit: google.com

It's rarely true that older pets just lose interest in the things they used to love. If you loved ice cream when you were a kid, chances are you're still going to love ice cream when you're eighty. The same goes for your animal companion. If they love chasing a fisbree in the park when they're puppies and young adult dogs, chances are they're still going to crave that when they're senior pets. The only difference is your geriatric pet can't tell you "I'm in pain and can no longer chase my favorite toy". This is why it's important to be observant of your pet. Any changes could be a sign of a more serious illness or disease and the sooner you notice the extreme changes, the faster you can help them.

Get Regular Check-Ups For Your Pet

wheel chair pets
Credit: google.com

Too many pet owners skip this step. They feel there's nothing they can do for their aging pet and they assume a wagging tail means everything is okay. This isn't the case. Only regular veterinary check-ups can ensure you're providing them with the proper care they need to be happy. 

If your pet has osteoarthritis, you may need to get them some pain medications from a doctor. The veternarian clinic staff are the ones that will be able to pin point the subtle signs your pet may be giving that they're sick or need help.

It's true that as a pet gets older, the more frequent the visits to the vet clinic are going to be. There are a lot more concerns and age related issues a pet can have when their organs and other functiions slowly start to shut down.

Provide A Healthy Diet

elderly pets

Just like young pets needs a special nutritionally balanced diet, so do geriatric pets. Making sure to talk to the veterinarian about what foods would be best for your companion's individual needs. Remember that not all pets are the same. Just because your neighbor's cat benefits from a certain cat food doesn't mean your cat is going to benefit as much, if at all, from the same food.

Some pets have allergies their entire lives while others develope allergic reactions to certain food products when they're older. Keeping the recommended foods well stocked is going to make you and your pet happy because you're not going to have to worry about them getting sick nor will they have to suffer through the pain that allergic reactions can cause.

Let Them Feel The Love

aging pets

So many people get so caught up in doing all of the medication doses and watching their pet for any unfavorable signs of illness that they forget one of the main causes of depression in animal companions: affection! 

Don't forget to cuddle with your best friend. Your goal should be to make them as comfortable and just because they may not respond to a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup or ice cream doesn't mean they don't want you to rub their belly or scratch behind their ears in that special spot that only you know about.

As the owner of a geriatric pet, you should be spending this time working on keeping them around as long as possible as well as keeping them as comfortable during the process of aging. It's a painful experience as an owner to know that your pet's time with you is coming to an end. Just make sure not to focus so much on the day when they'll no longer be with that you miss the special moments of the days they need you the most.

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Comments

Sep 27, 2013 11:20pm
Bambiraptor
My sweet kitty Rosie is 13, and I'm hoping she'll be around as long as possible. She has irritable bowel syndrome and our vet has her on homeopathic medication. It works quite well for her. I'm really saddened and disgusted by people who dump their elderly pets at the shelter. That's just plain selfish of them to do that when their pet has always been there for them.
Sep 30, 2013 10:21am
jadedkoala
I couldn't agree more. It really breaks my heart to think about that. Those poor pets, I can't imagine how they feel when their selfish owners do that to them.
Sep 30, 2013 12:55pm
Bambiraptor
I say put the owners in the shelter!
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