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DIY Caring for Your Senior Pet

DIY Caring for Your Senior Pet

Pets become a large part of your family dynamic. When you first start seeing the early signs that your pet is aging, this can be a hard concept to accept. As your dog or cat gets older, make sure to carefully monitor their health for physical and behavioral differences. Keep a record of your pet's routines and entertainments. When your write this information down, you will have something to go back and compare any changes to. These are some of the most common changes and conditions that can affect your aging pet.

1) Cognitive Dysfunction
Cognitive Dysfunction, or CD, is similar to the human disease of Alzheimer's. CD can have symptoms such as confusion, changes in levels of activity, socializing troubles and disruptions in memory.

It is beneficial to stimulate your pet's mind on a regular basis. One way to do this is to make use of a toy you can put food in which will cause your pet to have to think in order to get to the food. Doing this will keep your pet's mind sharp.

2) Arthritis
Just like humans, pets can be afflicted with arthritis. There is really no way that is 100% effective in preventing this disease. Your pet can develop weakness in the joints. When your pet has arthritis, he/she will have a hard time when trying to stand up. You may notice that your pet is walking in a different manner. Cats may tend to sleep for longer periods during the day.

To help make your cat or dog more comfortable, install a heat lamp over your pet's bedding. It will also help ease their muscles if you put a heating pad on low to medium setting on your pet's bed, preferably under a thin blanket or towel.

3) Weight Gain
Just like with humans, pets may lose the amount of muscle they have as they age. Metabolism begins to decrease and leads to weight gain.

As your pet reaches a certain age, you can switch to a different food made for senior pets. These foods have higher protein content than foods made for younger dogs and cats. They also have a lower amount of calories, which helps them not gain so much weight. Senior pets will sometimes have problems with constipation, mostly cats. A good solution to aid in the digestive process is to feed your cat or dog more meals throughout the day, but in smaller portions.

4) Incontinence
A common symptom of your aging pet is a problem with controlling his/her bladder. If your pet is suffering from persistent urination or numerous accidents, a grave illness may be the cause. Your dog or cat could be dealing with the onset of kidney failure or brain tumors.

Check with your vet to find out what you and your pet are dealing with. To help prevent accidents, place more litter boxes and pee pads in your home, generally near places where your pet tends to rest.

5) Hearing/Vision Loss
As your pet ages, you may be noticing that he/she is not reacting to your voice anymore or lacking the ability to see hand commands.

For those pet's who are having vision problems, speak to them more often than using non-verbal cues. Make sure to provide an adequate amount of light in your home, so your dog or cat can use whatever sight they have left to its maximum potential. If you are dealing with a pet with hearing issues, consider the use of a flashlight to make him/her aware of what you are wanting.

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