They’re more than just pets; more often than not, they’re members of your family who’ve stuck by you through thick and thin. And now they’re growing old and/or becoming infirm so they deserve much more care than ever before. Most pet owners don’t really know when their pets can be considered “old”; seniority status differs from species to species so look up your pet on Google or ask your vet to determine how long you can expect him/her to live. If you have an aging pet at home, you can expect them to be infirm as well – their bodies and minds decline like those of elderly human beings. In order to care for aging/ailing pets:
* Be on the lookout for behavior that is strange or unusual to your pet, if they act out of character or abnormally, take them to see your vet.
* Once your pet doctor has checked them out thoroughly, he/she can tell you what is wrong with your pet, and if their sickness and uncharacteristic behavior is a sign of aging or if it is something else.
* Based on your vet’s recommendations, you may have to alter the dietary requirements of your pet and provide them with more nutritious food.
* If your pet suffers from arthritis, they may need medicines to relieve them of the pain.
* The older your pet becomes, the more sedentary they become so you may have to carry them out to answer the call of nature
* As they age, your pet may also become obese, leading to other illnesses and disease, so watch their diet carefully and ask your vet how you can provide them with exercise.
* Incontinence will lead to accidents around the house and you may have to cope with cleaning up after your pet.
* Your aging pet may also experience a form of dementia and indulge in uncharacteristic behavior like barking at odd hours, shying away from family members, forgetting their way around the house and so on. Be aware of these changes and talk to your pet care provider to see how you can best handle them.
* The toughest decision of all is to take a call on whether you need to put consider euthanasia. While it is advisable to act on the recommendation of your pet care provider, you know your pet best. You are more likely to know if they are in unbearable pain and must be put to rest or if you can keep them comfortable at home and let them die naturally, It is a difficult decision but one that must be made for the sake of your beloved pet.
This guest post was contributed by *Tina Marconi.* Tina writes on the topic
of online veterinary tech schools <http://www.vettech.org/>. She welcomes
your comments at her email address: email@example.com .