Do you have a dog or cat that is getting older? When it comes to elderly pet care, owners should be aware of signs that their pet may be in pain or discomfort- and promptly report these symptoms to your veterinarian. Some signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Gasping for breath
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty or reticence getting up or moving
No owner wants their pet to suffer; report these signs to your vet and do what you can to minimize their discomfort. Make sure to provide comforting items like a favorite toy, familiar blanket, or other items that give them joy.
Some other tips for caring for your elderly pet include the following:
Check for Underlying Issues
It is always prudent to take your pet for regular, routine veterinary checkups to rule out any underlying medical issues or conditions that could be causing them pain or decline in daily function. Your vet will advise you on the best way to treat any existing health situation that your elderly pet is facing.
Prevent Sore Spots
If your pet has mobility problems or is sleeping a lot, make sure that you prevent pressure sores. Just like humans, pets can develop these “bed-sores” if you do not keep an eye out for vulnerable, reddened areas as well as help your pet change positions to reduce the pressure. Also, these are more apt to manifest if your pet does not have a soft spot to rest, so make sure to provide lots of cushions, blankets, and pillows for your pet.
Plan for Incontinence
Another symptom that older pets may exhibit is incontinence; is your pet losing control of their bladder or having accidents inside the home? Check and clean your pet as needed and look for products- like slings and wraps- that can help the pet with episodes of incontinence.
Consider Hospice Care
Just like humans, some pets may require hospice or palliative care toward the end of their life. Has your pet been diagnosed with a terminal illness? In these instances, pet hospice care can make your pet’s final days much more comfortable and pleasant. With medications, interaction, and the right diet, you can help make the most of this difficult time.
The most important thing that owners can do to care for an elderly pet is to minimize any stress or discomfort that they may be experiencing. There are some very hard end-of-life decisions that owners may need to make, including whether it is time to peacefully put your pet to sleep. Euthanasia is a way for your vet to provide a pain-free end for a pet that may be suffering. Your vet uses a sedative and follows this with a medication that puts the pet to sleep peacefully, ending any pain or discomfort that they have experienced. The best way to help your vet determine if euthanasia is the right choice is by keeping track of your pet’s behaviors and activities to share with your vet.
For families grieving the loss of a pet, Midlands Pet Care is a small, family-owned business that specializes in pet burials and cremations. Let us guide you through this difficult process with care and understanding. Reach out today for more information.