Everyday Care for Ageing Pets

It is up to us to adjust according to our older pets needs.

Created: 27/01/2016 Updated: 27/08/2021 - Shelley Audis-Riddell

cats, diet, dogs, health, Health & Wellbeing, joint, senior, weight control

Ageing is a natural process that comes to all of our pets. There is no set age at which cats and dogs are classed as senior. The life span of our pets is determined by their genes, diet, activity level and medical history. Generally, larger breeds reach the senior time of their life earlier than smaller breeds.

What are the signs of ageing?

The signs of ageing can creep up slowly, over a number of years, and may not be apparent until you see a change in your dog or cat's behaviour or health. Signs of ageing to look out for are:

  • Weight gain

  • Loss of hearing

  • Poor eye sight

  • Long sleep patterns

  • Being less active

  • Weight loss

  • Graying of the hair

  • Joint stiffness / problems

  • Dental problems

Keep your pets active

Senior pets still require daily exercise, but to a lesser extent than when they were adults. This may mean limiting the amount of exercise your pet receives - some seniors just don't know when to stop! Try to create different ways to exercise your pet, such as hydrotherapy for dogs, activity toys, food games, walking your dog on a recall lead and daily training.

Small black dog with an orange collar and lead

Provide a comfortable home

/'Senior proofing' your house and garden can help your pet to be more comfortable at home. Placing a mat or rug over laminate or wooden flooring can help elderly pets walk safely and comfortably around the house. Senior pets may find it gets increasingly hard to walk up and down steps. Introducing a ramp can help their mobility. Baby gates can be placed around the home to stop senior pets going upstairs or into areas of the house that are no longer suitable for them.

Cats, naturally like to climb and hide at different levels in their environment. This meets their instinctive needs and makes them feel safe. However, a senior cat with arthritis may struggle to jump the same height as an adult cat. Try introducing lower level areas for your cat to sit on, or provide levels for you cat to jump onto to get to their preferred resting place.

Diet

During the senior stage of life, pets become less active and require changes to their diet. This is because their immune system lowers and becomes more susceptible to illness and disease. Senior diets have a lower protein content, and higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals to help combat illness and disease and to help with the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Some senior pets may require mobility support for old-age joint problems. Glucosamine (which provides building blocks to synthesize new joint cartilage), Chondroitin (which blocks destructive enzymes that break down cartilage joint), MSM (which is vital for the formulation of keratin/collagen) and Elastin (which gives flexibility/tone plus strength to muscle, bones and joints) are all important components of a senior pet diet.

We recommend OSCAR Adult Care Pinnacle Plus diet for our senior dogs and OSCAR Rich in Chicken with Turkey diet for our senior cats. Both have added support for ageing joints.

Weighing out food

Treats & extras

Offering treats and extras is something that every pet owner enjoys, but moderation is the key! Feeding too many treats will lead to your pet piling on the pounds.

Veterinary checks

Senior pets require more frequent veterinary checks to monitor the signs of old age. If you're concerned about your pet's health, always contact your veterinary surgeon for a full health check.

Do you need further advice?

If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk.