Keeping our senior pets snuggly during the winter months
The winter months can bring challenges for pets of all breeds, ages and sizes, however senior pets in particular can find the winter months more difficult. Common conditions in older pets, such as arthritis, may be exacerbated by the colder winter months so it is important to take particular care at this time of year as temperatures get lower.
Older pets can struggle to regulate their body temperature compared to their younger counterparts, so as the temperature gets lower outside it is important to make sure they are provided with extra warmth during this time of year.
Provide extra bedding
As our pets grow older, they will lose body mass and condition which can mean their joints are less well protected. This can cause pressure sores when your pet lays down, and it is a good idea to provide padding with extra blankets. Specially designed orthopaedic beds for pets with mobility issues are also available – these beds support your pets body and aid them in getting in and out of their rest area safely.
It may be a good idea to consider providing your dog an extra layer of clothing, such as a dog jumper, fleece or coat, to help keep them warm in the house. When venturing outdoors, a good quality insulated dog coat is a great idea to make sure they are comfortable.
Continue their gentle exercise
Keeping your older pets active is extremely important as we need to keep them moving. Regular walks are a chance for your dog to stretch their legs and stimulate their senses, but consider adapting to shorter length routes or reducing the number of walks if they shows signs of tiredness.
Consider indoor activities
Thinking of other ways to keep your pet’s brain active is a good idea, as it will stimulate their minds and help to keep muscles exercised. You could use interactive toys and games that they can complete within their own time, such as treat games and puzzles, filled Kongs or Lickimats.
Make sure their diet is suitable for their age
As your pet gets older, it is important to check you are feeding the right type and the right amount of food. You may need to tweak their diet based on age, but also think about the time of year and if their exercise requirements will be altered.
Add relevant supplements if necessary
Supplements can be a great addition to a pet’s diet, especially for age related conditions. There are many products available on the market, and if you require any guidance please speak to one of our veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses for help.
Regular vet check ups
Keep a regular eye on your pet as they get older and take note of any changes within their daily routine – this information is extremely helpful for your regular health checks with your vet. These check ups are important and allow our team to examine your pet to ensure they are in good health, and help pick up on any changes or developments that may need intervention quickly.
If you have any questions regarding caring for your older pet, please do contact your independent veterinary practice, MK Vet Group, to arrange a senior pet check and discuss your concerns.