When we first bring a new puppy or kitten home, we don’t like to think about the fact one day we will have to care for them as they age. The eternal tragedy of pet ownership is that we are always destined to outlive them.
Nevertheless, for all the years of joy, love, and companionship that they bring us, it seems a fair trade. Even as your beloved furry friend begins to slow down in the autumn of their life, they’re still going to be them, and you’re still going to be you – so you’re going to want to do the best you can for them. Caring for pets as they are can be as rewarding as bounding around with them when they’re younger; it brings you closer.
Obviously, as pets age, the chance of them experiencing a health problem becomes more likely. We’re talking generally about dogs and cats as a collective here, and both are faced with the same sort of problems. Mobility is limited over time, they can suffer from teeth problems, and general wear and tear on their bodies.
However, the first point we should examine is that of kidney failure in cats. Dogs can and do have problems with kidney function, but for cats, it’s almost a certain once they begin to reach the late years in terms of age.
While kidney failure might sound terrifying, it’s actually not. Cats can cope astonishingly well with low levels of kidney function, and there’s plenty you can do to support a good quality of life. Don’t take a diagnosis of kidney failure as a sign you should have your cat put to sleep. They can, and do, thrive after diagnosis – you just need to learn to manage it!
The same applies to mobility issues in dogs. As dogs age, their joints take a beating from all the running around parks they have been doing in their youth. As they slow down, many owners think that their dog has lost their quality of life. That’s not the case – it’s just a slightly different life than what they had before.
Focusing on these two problems – as they are by far the most common – what can you do about them?
Feline Kidney Failure
- Talk to your vet about subcutaneous fluids, which can make a huge difference to how the cat feels.
- Use a phosphorus binder in their food.
- Be prepared for the fact they will urinate more often, and not necessarily in the litter tray. They can’t help this; it’s not bad behavior, so try and adjust to it. It might mean you need to bring in the likes of Arevalo Bros Chem-Dry every so often to help rid your home of any lingering smells on carpets, but it’s a small price to pay for your cat’s continued comfort.
- Raise their food bowl in your home. This is more comfortable for them to eat from. It may be inconvenient and require some household rearranging, but again, small price to pay.
Loss Of Mobility In Dogs
- Look into supplementing joint-friendly treatments which can give an extra lease of life. Your vet will likely have a list of recommendations.
- Consider a doggy stroller. They may look silly, but your dog can still get all the benefits of being outside without any concerns about being uncomfortable.
- If your dog likes to sleep on your bed or sit on the sofa, they might need a step to help them over the height.