Beat the Heat With Summer Senior Pet Care Tips
If your best companion is an older dog, cat, or other special critter, you likely understand that certain changes have taken place with age. Along with these changes, health needs are now more complex. Summertime can take a significant toll on the health and general well being of senior pets when precautions aren’t taken. To help your fur-bearing friend cope with the heat, the team at AIMSS is here to provide summer senior pet care tips.
7 Senior Pet Care Tips for Summer
- Choose gentle forms of exercise. Exercise is important for all animals, large and small, but senior pets often need a less rigorous routine, particularly on warm days. Adjust your pet’s routine by going on gentle walks in the early morning hours or after sunset. On hot, humid days, opt for some indoor playtime with toys, food puzzles, or a game of fetch with a plush toy.
- Increase hydration. We could all stand to drink more water, and this includes our pets. Seniors oftentimes do not drink enough water, which can result in chronic dehydration. Encourage consumption by adding ice cubes to water bowls or by adding a bit of low sodium broth or tuna water. You can even spoil your pet with some pet-friendly pupcicles for an extra-special cool treat.
- Mind the paws, nose, and ears. Sensitive areas like the nose and ear tips are prone to sunburn, so consider purchasing sunblock formulated for your specific kind of pet. Be sure to cover all those hairless spots. Hot surfaces can also be a danger to paw pads, resulting in serious burns. Check the surface temperature before allowing your senior pet to roam with you.
- Provide mental enrichment. As a pet slows down during the golden years, it can be tempting to forgo exercise and other activities – especially when he or she looks content with naps. Unfortunately, many seniors suffer from boredom, which can result in behavioral problems. Make it your goal to spend at least 30 minutes each day with your pet, and offer plenty of toys for hot days when you’re both cooped up inside.
- Prevent heat stroke. Older animals and those with compromised health are at increased risk of heat-related illnesses. Because pets cannot regulate their body temperatures as effectively as humans, they rely on us to watch for signs of discomfort and take steps to avoid overheating. This includes providing plenty of shade when outdoors and using the air conditioner when inside or in the car.
- Follow up with summer wellness exams. Senior pets benefit from more frequent visits to the vet in order to detect any changes in health and wellbeing. Late spring or early summer is a great time to have your pet examined. These checkups provide an opportunity to discuss parasite control, exercise, nutrition, and more.
- Enjoy some splash-time fun. When it’s hot outside but your pet is anxious to get outdoors, a kiddie pool or romp through a lawn sprinkler can be a great alternative to the usual walk. If your pet is accustomed to swimming, a few laps in the pool (with supervision and a ramp for easy exiting) can also be a good option. When outside, you may also consider carrying a spray bottle filled with water to “mist” your pet while enjoying some fresh air.
We hope you and your senior buddy have the best summer yet! If you would like more information about senior pet care, please do not hesitate to call.