Winter can be tough on all creatures big and small, but particularly senior dogs and cats. To ensure elderly pets are comfortable during these chillier months and protected against arthritis, obesity and fleas, PETstock is educating pet parents on the best winter survival tactics.
According to PETstock VET’s Jess Donohue, dogs and cats are classed as senior once as soon as they turn seven – by this time in their life, a pet’s joints and organs are similar to those of a 60-year-old human.
“During winter, the most common ailment we see in senior pets is arthritis,” says Jess. “Older pets have sensitive joints, and when the temperature drops these aches and pains can be much more painful than during other seasons.”
Senior pet parents also need to be aware of fleas – Jess says that, during winter, the combination of a heated home and keeping pets indoors can provide an ideal breeding environment for fleas.
“It’s important to treat your pet all year round with a quality product such as Advantage, and grooming, especially brushing, is still important during winter,” says Jess. “It will help you identify and control fleas and ensure that your pet’s coat does not become matted and uncomfortable.”
Weight gain is also a major concern for senior pets throughout the colder months. With lessened movement in their older age, senior pets that are house bound in winter are likely to pile on the pounds without intervention from their owner.
“Less walks and more treats will lead to puddings, not pets!” Jess says. “Pet owners need to ensure that senior pets, particularly dogs, are kept as active as possible. Senior dogs should be taken on gentle daily walks, to stop the stationary winter lifestyle from affecting their weight. Otherwise, these gains can have a detrimental effect on their overall health, as well as loading their joints with extra stress.”
PETstock VET’s Jess Donohue also suggests these tips for caring for your pet in winter:
- Ensure your pet has warm and comfortable bedding inside or in a kennel. A warm wheat pack or water bottle may also help keep them warm throughout the night.
- Ensure food and water is kept in an accessible place – for example, older cats may find it harder to jump onto higher areas to retrieve their food, so keep it within reach.
- When walking your dog in the cold or rain, it’s a great idea to put them in a lightweight, waterproof coat that will help keep them warm and dry – PETstock’s stylish DGG range is worth a look!
- Ensure your senior pet’s joints aren’t under excess pressure by maintaining a healthy weight. Walk dogs regularly, and monitor food intake for all of your pets.
- A pet stroller is perfect for elderly pets that can’t get out and about easily during winter, and if your senior pet is experiencing sore arthritic joints, visit your local PETstock or PETstock VET for treatment options.