There are additional aspects that can help make your elderly pet’s life more comfortable, and I have named a few of the ones I have thought of below.
For all elderly cats/pets I have looked after, I have always given them access to an additional source of heat as it can help relax their muscles and body and ease some aches and pains, but it is their choice, they have the option to move away from it if they wish to, never force them to endure it. There are different options:
- Pet electric blanket, there are some great ones out there, the one I used was Petnap’s Cat/Dog Heatpad.
- Radiator bed
- Snugglesafe microwaveable heat pad which last around 9hrs (have used it for myself before as well, lol!)
As I say provide other areas they can rest if they decide they don’t want the heat, but most find their own way in that regard.
As it is common for elderly pets to be on some kind of meds, please check whether your meds require you to wear gloves when administering, as there are some medications that are best not to be got on the skin e.g. steroidals. Your vet would be able to advise and the accompanying leaflet/box often will state this under ‘cautions/advisory warnings’. I speak from experience after not being told by the vet to wear disposable gloves to administer meds, so just flagging this up for others.
Most supermarkets now sell disposable gloves.
Some medications will also require that they are given with food. This is normally stated on the dispensing label for your pet’s medication, accompanying leaflet or by the vet themselves, but if you are unsure, just ask your vet. Better to be safe than sorry.
Calming Measures to help them feel calmer, safer and less stressed
Feliway/DAP – products that emit pheromones to help your cat (Feliway) or dog (DAP) feel safer and calmer.
Pet Remedy – can be used for cats, dogs, horses – helps to relieve stress and anxiety with proven essential oils that come in a diffuser to plug in, and wipes/ sprays that you can use on their bedding, your clothing, carriers, them (only the wipes). I have tried this and found it very effective with stressed cats, but managing your own emotions at the time is very important too as they do pick up on these.
KalmAid – a nutritional supplement that you can get for dogs and cats (check you have the right one for cat/dog) to manage stress related behaviours.
AromaFlow – with dogs, I am trained in AromaFlow which uses essential oils to help fear/anxiety and stress as well as other emotional issues.
Herb Gardens – I will only recommend ones I have tried, and the one I use is by Naturally Cats click their name for the website link. Ones for dogs, are often places you go to so they can wander through and self-select. One such garden, based in Sheffield, is by Pat White, one of our Canine Flow Practitioners.
But, there are also many articles that advise you on how to grow your own herb garden for your dog, try this one by Your Dog Magazine: https://www.yourdog.co.uk/dog-care-and-advice/your-dogs-health/can-i-create-a-sensory-garden-for-my-dog/ or Battersea Dogs Home: https://www.battersea.org.uk/how-make-sensory-garden-your-dog
There are even articles for constructing herb gardens for horses: Herb Garden for Horses (honeyvaleherbs.com)
It is important to never force a herb or plant onto a pet, by putting in their drinking water or food, so ensure you have sought advice from trusted sources, checked the herbs are safe for use, and that they have the ability to self-select.
You may wish to purchase a water fountain to encourage them to drink as most pets love fresh running water. There are many to choose from on the market, so have a look around. My go-to recommendation is the Drinkwell water fountain as all my cats have loved it over other ones I have tried. Some fountains like the Catit Flower Drinking Fountain I have considered, but not gone through with, as it was reported by a user that when the power was off, the water stayed in the well of the fountain, leaving their pet with no access to water, which is unacceptable to me.
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