By Brandi Lawson

It’s National Senior Pet Month! Much like humans, senior pets require different care and attention than young puppies, or even middle-aged dogs do. As they grow and change, it’s important to change up our routine to best suit their wants and needs so that they can be the happiest and healthiest they can be. Here are some tips for outstanding senior pet health:

Activity:

Most older dogs are not going to be as active or energetic as a 6-month-old puppy might be. They take things a little slower and like to relax more. While it’s totally ok to let them take it easy most of the day, it’s important to keep them moving at least once or twice a day. A good way to exercise indoors with an older dog is by purchasing treat toys. These toys are made to hide treats inside and entice your dog to dig, scratch and paw at them to release their hidden treasure. Another exercise to try is simply walking around the house, and up and down stairs if available. Be sure and monitor your dog as you take them through these activities and make sure they’re not getting too tired or out of breath.

Nutrition:

As your dog’s daily routine changes, their diet should be reevaluated as well. Dogs with higher activity levels need more energy and therefore need to consume more calories. When your dog is around 7 and starting to slow down her daily activity, it might be time to switch to a lower calorie food. Over feeding her calories can lead to weight gain, which raises her risk for other serious medical issues. Something else to consider is adding some supplements to her daily diet. For example, an ingredient in some dog supplements is PCSP-524, which has been proven to assist in joint health for older dogs. Of course, this is something that you need to consult your vet about before introducing them to your pet.

Signs and Symptoms:

Make sure that you’re keeping consistent with your dog’s trips to the vet. If there is ever any cause for concern, you want to be able to find and treat it as soon as possible, and the best way to do this is by taking them to the vet on a regular basis. Vets recommend getting older dogs checked every 6 months. In between checkups, keep an eye on their daily energy and activity levels. Keeping their Poof Pet Tracker on them at all times will help you keep track of how much sleep and exercise they’re getting, which in turn will help you notice right away when anything changes. Also keep an eye out for any sudden changes in appetite and water consumption.

Our last tip is less about senior pet health and more about pet comfort: treat your dog to a fancy new bed. Surround their crate or sleeping area with towels or old t-shirts that might smell like you, and make them more comfortable. Older dogs love to relax and be nice and cozy, so a new bed might just put an extra pep in their step.

**As always, these tips are all general guidelines. It’s important to consult your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or routine.

The information and senior pet health tips were compiled with information from the following sources:

PetMD

Cesar’s Way

Vet Street

AVMA

PetMD