By David Zeligson.

Gerontologists use the phrase “aging in place” to describe a senior person’s capacity to remain in their own homes as they grow older, living independently, and safely while staying engaged. Since our lives are so intertwined with our pets’ lives, I cannot help but think about how our pets age in place alongside us.

The following suggestions are offered to shed awareness on how to promote your furry friend’s comfort, safety and overall quality of life as he or she ages.

Diet & Nutrition

As pets age, their dietary needs may change. For example, some geriatric pets require food that is more easily digested. Also, since older dogs may gain weight as their activity levels decrease, a lower calorie formula might prove beneficial. For older cats, the opposite issue – weight loss – may be more of a concern.

Medication, Vitamins & Other Supplements

It should come as no surprise that as our pets age, they may require medication to treat diagnosed medical conditions. Often, your veterinarian will prescribe vitamins, herbal supplements and other items to address specific deficiencies.

Veterinary Care

It is very important that your pet visits the vet regularly. Staying on top of vaccinations and periodic check-ups become increasingly important. This is because older pets’ immune systems are not as strong as in younger pets, and it takes longer for older pets to heal.

Home Modifications & Routine Changes

Finally, you may wish to consider making some accommodations to meet your furry family member’s needs:

• Placing pet stairs near the bed so your pet can step up easily.
• Situating additional pet beds and pillows throughout your home.
• Continuing to give your friend daily exercise but doing so in a way that is less strenuous and demanding.

All of these recommendations are intended to make your senior pet’s life more comfortable and safe, so he or she is with you for the longest amount of time, living a quality life. Cheers to all of our pets aging in place gracefully!

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