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How to Care for Senior Pets at Home

Caring for senior pets is a rewarding experience that comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. As our beloved pets age, their needs change, and providing them with the best possible care is essential to ensure they live comfortably and happily. In this blog post, our vets will discuss why taking care of your senior pets is important, how you can effectively manage senior pet care at home, and when to visit the vet.

Why Is It Important to Take Care of Your Senior Pets?

As pets age, they become more susceptible to health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, dental problems, and cognitive decline. Proper senior pet care at home helps manage these conditions, improve their quality of life, and extend their lifespan. Taking care of senior pets also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend, ensuring their golden years are filled with love and comfort.

Veterinary Care For Senior Pets

As your beloved furry friend ages, it's natural to expect some changes in their appearance, behavior, and overall well-being.

Pet owners must be vigilant and watch for any signs that may indicate a need for a visit to the vet. Some of the most common signs to look out for include:

  • Weight fluctuation (gain or loss)
  • Poor or worsening hearing/vision
  • Sleep abnormalities (sleeping too much/not enough)
  • Mental dullness
  • Dental disease and tooth loss
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Arthritis and joint issues
  • Reduced liver, kidney, and heart function

Your furry companion may start showing signs of aging, making it important to schedule routine wellness checks with your veterinarian. Doing so lets your vet identify and treat emerging geriatric conditions early, ensuring your pet's comfort and health.

During these exams, your vet will evaluate your senior pet's nutrition and mobility and suggest dietary or exercise changes to improve their well-being. Regular check-ups and blood work are crucial for keeping your senior pet healthy, so book an appointment with your vet today.

How to Care for Senior Pets at Home


As your furry friend enters their golden years, keeping a close eye on their nutritional needs is crucial. With age comes a decrease in physical activity, leading to a higher risk of weight gain and potential health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint pain. 

To ensure your pet stays healthy and happy, consult your veterinarian about adjusting their diet. This could involve monitoring their daily calorie intake or switching to a weight-loss formula food.

Prescription diets and supplements are available for senior pets with specific health concerns. Your vet can recommend the best options for your pet. 

Proper nutrition benefits your pet's physical well-being and supports its mental health as it ages. Like humans, pets can experience cognitive decline, but a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and regular exercise can help keep their minds sharp and alert.

Exercise (Physical & Mental)

As your pet ages, keeping its body and mind active is essential for overall well-being. Regular exercise can help them maintain a healthy weight and strengthen their joints.

Any signs of discomfort, like slowing down or hesitating to walk, could indicate underlying health issues such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. In such cases, it's important to consult your veterinarian for proper treatment.

In addition to physical activity, providing mental stimulation for senior pets is essential. Whether it's through teaching them new tricks or playing interactive puzzle games, there are plenty of options to keep your furry friend's mind sharp and engaged.

So, don't let age hold your pet back. Bring out their inner pet and keep them mentally stimulated with fun and engaging activities.

Keep Your Senior Pet Comfortable

Aside from ensuring they are receiving adequate veterinary care, nutrition, and physical and mental exercise, there are a few things you can consider doing to help your aging four-legged friend live out their golden years comfortably:

  • Orthopedic pet bed or a heated pet bed (or heating pad/mat set to low heat under a blanket in their sleeping area) for pets with joint pain or stiffness
  • More carpeting around a home. Tile, laminate, or wood floors can reduce slipping or tripping hazards for your older pets (some pets also do well with pet socks that have non-slip soles)
    • Pet gates (or baby gates) can be placed at the top or bottom of stairs to prevent tripping or falling hazards.
  • Improve accessibility with pet ramps, which can help your pet go up and down the stairs, on furniture, or into cars.
  • If your pet has vision issues, seeing at night will be harder for them; some nightlights around the home will help them navigate.

When is it time to take your senior pet to the vet?

Regular vet check-ups are crucial for senior pets. Visiting the vet at least twice a year is recommended for a comprehensive health assessment. However, sure signs indicate that a vet visit is necessary sooner, These include:

  • Sudden weight changes, whether unexplained weight loss or gain, can indicate underlying health issues.
  • Persistent coughing or difficulty breathing. These symptoms can indicate respiratory or heart issues.
  • Difficulty standing, walking, or noticeable stiffness may indicate arthritis or other joint issues.
  • Behavioral changes such as increased aggression, confusion, or withdrawal could indicate cognitive decline or pain.
  • Reduced appetite, increased thirst, or altered urination patterns may indicate various health conditions.

By staying vigilant and proactive about your senior pet's health, you can ensure they receive the care they need to thrive in their later years.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have an elderly pet? Contact our Charlotte vets today to book a senior wellness exam. Our vets can help you provide your old pet with the diligent care it needs to thrive.

New Patients Welcome

Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Charlotte companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Book Online (704) 278-8000