As your furry friends enter their golden years, their bodies undergo a number of changes that require a few adjustments in their diet and lifestyle. One of the most crucial changes is their need to maintain a healthy weight. Weight management helps keep a range of health concerns at bay, including joint pain, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. In this guide, we’ll discuss some helpful tips on how to maintain a healthy weight in older pets.
As your pet grows older, its nutritional needs change. Older pets may require fewer calories to maintain their ideal weight but need high-quality protein and fibre to promote healthy digestion and muscle function. It’s essential to feed your pets a balanced, age-appropriate diet, and avoid feeding them treats or table scraps that are high in fat, sugar, or salt. In some cases, supplements and special diets may be necessary to help older pets maintain a healthy weight. Your vet may recommend a dog supplement such as a dog joint supplement, a dog probiotic, or a prescription diet tailored to your pet's individual needs. Your vet can also provide advice on a recommended dog or cat diet for your pet.
If your dog is not eating enough, try encouraging them to eat by using food as a reward. You can do this by hiding their food around the house in a game of hide and seek or using food as a reward after tricks. Puzzles are a great way to encourage them too! This will keep their mind and body active. Cat or dog mental stimulation also has the great benefit of slowing cognitive decline.
Keep your pet active
As dogs age, they tend to become less active, which can lead to weight gain and a higher risk of health problems such as arthritis, respiratory issues, and heart disease. Exercise has the added benefit of increasing their mood and energy levels. However, staying physically active is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and promoting general wellness. You can keep your older pet active by going for leisurely walks, playing fetch, or even swimming. Be mindful of your pet’s comfort level and adjust the intensity of activities accordingly.
Address dental health
Poor dental health can contribute to weight problems and other health concerns in pets. In older pets, dental issues often become more prevalent and poor dental health can result in weight loss as they find eating more painful or difficult. Regular at-home teeth brushing and professional cleanings can help prevent dental disease and ensure your pet can maintain a healthy weight.
Regular vet visits are important because they allow the veterinarian to monitor and assess the pet's overall health and weight and provide recommendations on nutrition and exercise. Additionally, if your pet has any underlying health conditions that are contributing to weight gain or loss, the vet can diagnose and treat these conditions before they worsen. Ultimately, regular vet visits can help ensure that pets stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
Maintaining a healthy weight in older pets is crucial to improve their overall health and well-being. By scheduling regular vet appointments, providing balanced nutrition, increasing physical activities, addressing dental health, and considering supplements and special diets when needed, you can help your furry friends maintain a healthy weight and live a happier, healthier life. With a little bit of extra care and attention, your older pets can continue to enjoy your companionship for many years to come.
Does your dog need to lose some weight? Check out our blog on low-impact exercise for older dogs here.