Sarah Hadley is in the KBOI2 studio to share some helpful tips for folks with senior pets.
Q: What is considered a senior pet?
A: Generally, I would say around 7 [years of age]. There are are exceptions to that, a Great Dane or Saint Bernard is going to be geriatric at about 6. While cats, you can reasonably say more like 9-they have a longer life spans, especially indoor cats.
Q: What are some difference for caring for a senior pet vs. a younger pet?
A: There are a few differences. One thing I think of is the time they can spend inside without going outside. Some senior pets may not hold quite as well, although they are more likely to be better house trained, of course. But, if they are having an issue here or there, they may need to go out and potty a little more than often. They also aren't going to be able to walk and hike as far, but it is still important for them to get regular exercise.
Q: What should senior pets eat vs. younger pets?
A: In general, if you have a basically healthy senior pet, just a good quality senior food. There are several out on the market. They've got usually a lower calorie [content] and some of them have joint supplements added-which I think is a great idea. However, senior pets that have liver or kidneys issues need a special diet prescribed by your veterinarian.
Q: So, do you suggest a different diet for senior pets for every type of breed of dog?
A: Yes, just generally senior pets don't need quite as many calories and they often need a different balance of minerals to make life a little easier on aging kidneys and so forth.
Q: How much should senior pets exercise?
A: I think daily exercise is good. A daily short 20 minute walks is good on average, but it depends. I've seen 10 year old dogs that still like to go trail running and I've also seen 6 year old dogs that already have arthritis and need to take it easier! If you take your dog out one day, and they are conked out and stiff the next day, chances are you over did it-just go a little bit lighter the next time.
Q: Let's talk about Fancy. She is a "chug." She's 6 years old. She is up for adoption. Anything else about Fancy that we should know?
A: She is a really sweet dog, I'm kind of mystified why she is still in the rescue. She's a nice little dog. She is a little timid at first, but she does bond with someone once she gets to know them. I did notice just walking in the studio that's she's great on the least, which is unusual for a small dog!
Update: Fancy was finally adopted with her best friend at the All Valley Animal Rescue after a year and half of searching for a forever home with us!