, April 24, 2024

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How to Care for Senior Pets

  •   4 min reads
How to Care for Senior Pets
By the Philippine Pet Institute

As pets grow older, their routine, lifestyle, and nutritional requirement change and one of the most common signs that comes with aging is a pet’s loss of appetite. Despite this, pet owners must continue to ensure that their pets meet their nutritional requirements every day otherwise these pets are at risk of developing serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease.

Exercise your senior pets to keep them healthy. But limit to a few minutes of walking, and make sure it is not too hot outside. Give your senior dog a lot of water after an exercise. In photo is 16-year-old senior dog Silver, rescued from the pound by Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL Inc.) who loves a short walk in front of the house.

Nutritional Requirements of Senior Pets

Every pet requires a well-balanced diet regardless of their age. Many commercially-available pet food are scientifically developed by experts to provide pets the required nutrients they need to stay healthy every day.

As pets age, they typically become more sedentary and a well-balanced diet is a must for senior pets. Some pet owners avoid protein however this nutrient is important to help fuel their pets’ muscles and avoid muscle loss, another common problem among senior pets. Some pet owners may also see food specifically formulated for senior pets, which often is lower in fat and contains fewer calories.

Much like younger pets, senior dogs and cats must avoid toxic treats which includes grapes, raisins, onions, chocolates, or anything with caffeine in it. Pet owners are also discouraged from giving their older pets hard food such as bones and hooves.

To better understand an aging pets’ diet, pet owners are encouraged to consult their local veterinarian.

Interaction with another pet is important for a dog's mental health. Richie, rescued from the pound and now 7-21 years old, loves roaming around the garden with another rescue, Margaux, who was saved from being cooked as an appetizer (pulutan) by construction workers.

Everyday Exercise

Another of the most common signs of aging in pets is their energy level. As pets age, their energy levels drop and many pet owners may find them becoming lethargic compared to when they were younger. This adjustment in their pet’s lifestyle may lead to obesity and other health issues. To avoid this, pet owners must provide their four-legged companions the opportunity to exercise every day. Running with older pets may not be suitable however pet owners may opt to take longer walks and light jogs around the neighborhood as an alternative to ensure their beloved senior pets continue to get their daily dose of exercise.

Aging pets may also begin to experience sore and stiff joints. In consultation with a veterinarian, pet owners can develop mobility exercises to help keep their pet safely moving if he or she is experiencing joint point.

Veterinary Visits

Regardless of a pets’ age, pet owners must regularly check in with their veterinarians to make sure that their pets are in tiptop condition. These visits can help pet owners establish the proper diet and exercise regimen, as well as acquire vaccinations to protect their pets from fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasites.

Interaction with humans is also important for a senior pet's emotional health. Georgy, a senior dog with cancer who was saved from street, loves to pose with Ate Tani. She is such a sweet girl of 12.

These visits should happen on a regular basis and not just when a pet is sick. For pets with underlying illnesses, a regular trip to the vet will ensure that they are receiving proper treatment to secure quality of life.

About the Pet Food Institute

Pet Food Institute (PFI) is committed to educating pet owners about proper pet nutrition to keep pets healthy and happy. Through its local initiative, Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign in partnership with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP), PFI seeks to advocate responsible pet ownership to the ever-growing Filipino pet community.

Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food industry. PFI is the industry's representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educationalprograms; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food, an industry with more than $20 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.3 billion in exports in 2015.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard

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