The mercury is starting to drop and the leaves are turning orange. Whilst this means cosy evenings, woolly coats and hot chocolates for us, the cold weather can take a toll, particularly on senior pets. This certainely doesn’t mean they have to stay inside for the whole season. To help you take care of your senior pet we’ve put together some guidelines to help keep your furry friend comfortable and safe during the winter months.
It’s important to maintain regular vet check-ups with your senior pet throughout winter. They are an opportunity to check your pet’s weight, dental and general health. Also you can let us know of any problems, joint or otherwise, that need to be addressed to keep your pet happy and healthy. Like us, prevention is better than cure in your pet!
Senior pet and Joint Care:
Just like us, colder weather can really aggravate your pet’s joints, especially if they suffer from arthritis. Exercise has two benefits; it encourages good circulation and promotes muscle tone, and can also aid weight loss, reducing extra strain put on joints. With this in mind, dog walks between 20-30 minutes a day on even ground will give your dog all the benefits of exercise without overdoing it and aggravating joint pain.
Common signs of discomfort include stiffness, licking at joints or refusal to walk up or down stairs. If you become aware of this, book an appointment with your veterinarian, as your pet may need additional support such as anti-inflammatory medication to help them through this time.
Make sure your senior pet stays warm:
All our pets need a safe and warm place they can retreat to during the winter. Make sure your pet has a bed in a warm spot away from any drafts. Raising the bed off hard floors and adding an extra blanket can all help make it cosier. Try to avoid hot water bottles, especially with dogs who have a tendency to chew things! If you have a dog with a short coat, such as a greyhound, it’s a good idea for them to wear a dog coat when outside. Just make sure it isn’t so tight that it becomes uncomfortable, or too loose that it gets tangled.
Good grooming is also important, as tangled fur is less effective at insulating your pet, so brush them regularly. The Ark also offers a grooming service so your pet can be washed, dried and groomed safely in winter.
Winter Nutrition for senior pet:
Instead of summer barbeques, we often crave different foods when it’s cold. Your pet’s nutritional needs also change during winter, but really depend on their individual situation. For pets that are overweight, healthy weight loss will improve arthritic symptoms, as there is less pressure on their joints. There are a variety of foods designed specifically for weight loss, which combined with regular exercise can help your pet achieve a healthy weight.
On the other end of the spectrum, some older pets may struggle to maintain their weight during the winter months, as they burn more energy to keep themselves warm. If this is the case, you may need to provide more food so they can maintain their weight. In either scenario, the Ark can provide you with a comprehensive nutritional consult with regular weight checks and use this to give you a nutrition plan best suited to your pet.
The Ark Senior Care Package:
At the Ark we want to make it easier for you to manage the needs of your senior pet. As well as support their health as they become older. That is why we developed a senior care package which proactively addresses the needs of your aging pet and provides comprehensive preventative and wellness care.
The year long package is tailored to both senior dogs and cats and involves checkups, consultations and tests. These are designed to diagnose any age related conditions as soon as possible and keep your pet in the best of health.
With our text and email reminder system, we let you know when your pet is due an appointment, and you can easily book online or call us so our friendly staff can schedule an appointment for you.
Do you want to know more about our Senior Pet Care package or the individual senior care consults? Call us at 02-9416-1300. Our friendly staff will answer all your questions and explain in detail what you want to know.