The Aging Pet

Many owners of senior pets worry about how their pet will cope with winter. We often hear people say “he did really well over summer, but I’m not sure how he’s going to manage the cold weather”.

These are our 7 top tips for making sure your senior pet is comfortable over winter.

  1. Be proactive in managing any health issues. Arthritis is the obvious one, but also making sure other issues we commonly see in older pets are taken care of. We also find some health issues affect how the pets can interact with the owners. Bad breath, a smelly coat, or incontinence can often lead to pets being left outside as the owners can’t cope with the smell or cleaning. Talk to your vet about what can be done to make them comfortable.
  2. Get them a jacket if they’re going to be spending time outside. Although some dogs are “designed” for colder weather, many are not. A well-fitted jacket can make a big difference to their comfort level. Many pet stores will allow you to try them on your dog to ensure their fit well, so it’s a great product to buy local.
  3. Make sure they have shelter. If your pets need to spend some of the day outside, ensure they have a dry, draft-free place to rest. Also, ensure older pets have sufficient bedding to be comfortable.
  4. Keep exercising them. Exercise is important for your pet’s physical and mental health. It helps maintain muscle mass, keeps joints mobile, and helps prevent weight gain. This will all help with managing any arthritis.
  5. Don’t let them gain weight. Excess weight contributes to arthritis as well as many cancers. Control their diet and keep them exercising. If you need a hand to get some weight off your pet, our nurses run free weight loss clinics. Give us a call to book an appointment for your pet.
  6. Be prepared for storms. For pets with noise and storm phobias, their levels of fear can increase with age. You can find more information on how to prepare your pet for storms HERE
  7. Keep up with parasite control. Many people consider fleas a “summer problem”. This just isn’t true. With heating in houses and warm enough weather in Bunbury, we see problems with fleas year-round.

Older pets can do very well over winter. It just takes a little preparation and they can continue to have a comfortable and happy life.