Growing old with a pet companion
When you get a pet, you are making a commitment to take care of them for their entire lifespan, which for the average cat or dog, could be 15 years. This means that if you get a pet in your later life, you can both enjoy getting older together. There are lots of benefits to having pets, no matter your age, but there are also lots of things you should know about keeping pets too. This is a general guide to having pets in your senior years, or looking after a senior pet.
The Benefits of Owning a Pet
Owning a pet comes with a lot of joy, especially if you are retired. Pets make great companions, which is why they can be important to people who can feel more isolated or lonely, perhaps because they live alone. They can be a regular source of exercise, as owning a dog ensures you have a reason to go for a walk each day and keep up a good level of activity. Owning a cat is slightly less maintenance as they do not need regular walks, but they do expect you to play with them and give them attention. Being a pet owner comes with a responsibility, and for many people, this can help life to feel more meaningful. Especially once you are retired – a pet can keep you busy!
Being a Responsible Owner
Taking care of any pet is not easy, and you must be prepared to be a responsible and dedicated pet owner. What is easy, however, is finding tips and advice so you can learn more about how to look after your pet properly. There are lots of great sources of information online. Trusted sources can include veterinary sites and pet-focused companies. For example, Bella & Duke are an authentic, pet-loving brand that makes nutritional dog food based on your dog’s individual requirements. They have their own Dog Blog with lots of useful information for dog-owners, like this guide on happiness and health. There are plenty of fun and helpful tips – even if you have had dogs for many years, there is still so much more you can learn. If you ever need advice on the health of your dog or cat and are worried about them, you should still seek veterinary advice from a trusted professional.
How to Keep Your Senior Pet Happy
Every pet needs to be taken care of, but as they reach their senior years, they might need a little more attention when it comes to their health. Animals, just like us, can be prone to health conditions at any age. Reaching their senior years, however, can make them more prone to certain issues. Getting old is part of life, but it is still a time of life that can be enjoyed. Common issues that your pet may face include arthritis, hearing and vision loss, incontinence, heart failure, kidney failure, and cancer. Many issues can be treated effectively so that they can still enjoy life. It is always important to listen to your vet and do what is best for your pet. If your pet is in pain and cannot be treated and is no longer able to enjoy life, sometimes the kinder thing to do is let them go. This can be a difficult decision, and if you find yourself in this position, please seek advice on how to deal with grief and bereavement, as losing a loved one is undoubtedly difficult.
Having Plans in Place for Their Future
Sometimes, people can find themselves in a position where they must leave their cat or dog because they are unwell. Elderly pet owners may have to move into a care home and their pets are left without a home. As a pet owner, it is very helpful to have a plan in place should anything happen to you. Making sure that a friend or relative can take responsibility for your pets should you no longer be able to do so, to make sure they do not end up alone. If nobody is available, letting a charity know such as Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, or the RSPCA, can ensure your pets are taken care of until they find new homes. It might not be nice to think about parting ways with your pets but making plans just in case will help to keep them safer, and it will leave you feeling reassured.
Pets make great companions and can really make a home a brighter place. Whether you are a dog person, a cat person, or perhaps you love both, these furry friends bring joy to so many people.
Trained dogs like guide dogs and hearing dogs for the deaf are also wonderful companions to have and do so much good for people who need it. You should know what to expect before adopting a pet, as it is a big commitment to make, but one that can be absolutely worth it!
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