Caring for your pet in its later years
Creaking joints, thinning hair and lower energy levels are not just signs that we’re getting old – they also apply to our pets.
As their years advance you’ll notice your once-playful pet start to slow down, preferring to snooze in their basket rather than chase around. Depending on the breed, the average age for a dog is around 13-years-old, while cats typically live to be 15. A dog’s senior years are considered to be between the ages of five and eight and for cats it’s around 12. Luckily, many cats and dogs continue to live healthy lives well into old age but you will need to make some lifestyle changes.
The Cats Protection League says that cats, like humans, naturally suffer muscle loss and a change in eating and sleeping habits. Dogs too can become less mobile and some breeds, particularly Labradors, are susceptible to arthritis.
While it may be tempting to let your companion spend their last years resting comfortably by the fire, it is important to maintain a reasonable level of activity. A gentle stroll each day will help keep your pet’s joints supple and prevent them becoming overweight. Cats, known for their sense of adventure when in their prime, may prefer to stay closer to home in later life but you can keep them moving by encouraging them to play with their toys.
Of course, older cats and dogs have different nutritional needs to younger ones. Look out for food that has been specially formulated for less active animals, for example, we have a range of cat and dog food, which has been specially formulated for mature animals. Nature’s Essentials Senior Chicken with Rice and Vegetables contains natural supplements to ease joint conditions and fish oils to maintain a shiny coat. For cats, the protein-rich tempt me! Senior Chicken Terrines can help replenish the cells lost in later years.
However, there are more serious health issues to watch out for including diabetes, cancer and dementia. Regular check-ups are vital as your pets get older and many conditions will be picked up then – however, if they appear to be suffering, contact your vet as soon as possible.
HiLife’s senior cat and dog food is available at www.hilifepet.co.uk as well as at Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon, Pets at Home, Just for Pets, Pets at Home and independent retailers.