So many habits and routines change for us as hoomans as we age and go through seasons, and for our pets these changes come even quicker! Sleep habits, play time and eating habits are definitely big and noticeable areas of change for our pets as they age. We look to make our senior pets as comfortable as possible as we love them so much!
How to spot the changes, as they most assuredly do come and affect how things run in your home:
How Older Dogs’ and Cats’ Sleep Habits Change
Your pets’ sleep patterns will likely transform as she/he enters the golden years. Just as a shift in sleep schedule occurred between puppyhood and adulthood and kitten to cathood, the physical changes that occur as she/he becomes a senior fur baby will alter sleep habits again.
Your sweet fur baby may sleep a lot more than usual. They may sleep through your homecomings rather than racing to you for kisses for the doggies, to less rub bys on the legs from the kitties. Or they may sleep through much of the day and pad around the house in the middle of the night. We need to respect this rest time and try hard to accommodate while still finding ways to love and spoil them!
Senior dogs need more sleep because of the normal slowing down that coincides with age, and in some instances, because of age-related health problems. While senior cats often hold on to their agility better than the doggies, they will slow too and not be as active.
How Much Sleep Do Older Dogs & Cats Need?
When your adult dog becomes a senior canine—around the age of seven—you can expect naps to grow steadily longer. Some will tire more easily from exertion and need more time to replenish energy. It’s also normal to see changes in the timing of naps and activity and play time. Older dogs often sleep more during the day and have more bouts of wakefulness at night.
Older cats tend to be less active and playful, they may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favorite places. With age comes health and/or behavior changes – keep a watchful eye on them and make their places accessible for them!
Ways to Continue to Spoil Your Fur Babies as They Get Older:
–Upgrade their beds: No doubt your fur babies have had a lot of beds, and cats just sleep mostly wherever they deem worthy of them, you can add memory foam and thick fleece, which can help cushion and aging joints and keep them warm and more flexible. You can repurpose the old beds with extra blankets by putting them in other favorite nap spots throughout the house.
–Keep their nails short: As dogs age, their ligaments become less elastic and their knees can become more prone to injury, which means even a small misstep on a smooth floor can cause pain. Keeping their nails groomed and shorter helps with the slipping and catching! You can do yourself a favor if you DON’T feel comfortable doing it yourself: use a groomer and let them do it! Also, De Vora makes an amazing “self-grooming kit” that pets LOVE. Play/food time equals grooming time–the pets do all the work and it is something even older pets would enjoy!
–Re-evaluate their diets: This is something that should be done routinely anyways. From puppy/kitty to mature pet to senior pet. Senior dog/cat food is formulated to address elder dog/cat-specific needs. Metabolism slows with age, and that can lead to obesity, which in turn can cause other issues like joint pain, heart disease or diabetes. One great thing is the treats that we share, American Green has an AMAZING line of CBD treats for cats and dogs, give them a look!
–Massage: I have always given my cats and dogs massages. It helps I am a CMT, however, pets very much benefit from the oxygen that is released throughout the body as gentle and purposeful massage is given. We are not looking for deep-tissue folks, just a sweet and purposeful massage to help lessen joint pain and give love to our babies!
–Never let the water run out: Keep your senior saint fur babies hydrated. They need the fluids and it helps keep everything regular.
–Keep them away from stairs: Most people have stairs somewhere in their homes. As pets age they still want to please us. Cats are definitely more agile then dogs, but as they age, keep the stair areas to a minimum. If it is a matter of they ALWAYS sleep upstairs at night with you, then you escort them there and down once a day for that. Minimize the risk of injury and pain.
–Engage with them: Play toys with them as they still love it, lay on the floor and roll and play with them, take on SHORT walks, give massages, let them sleep by you as long as you both want, snuggle, cover their bed with blankets for extra comfort, give yummy snacks. Find what seems to please and go from there! Remember their love only gets better as time goes on!
Never had a senior pet? There are some amazing reasons to get one and to love them. If looking to adopt a pet for the first time there is no better one to have!
Save at Pet Treater to help spoil all your doggies and kitties!
Many purrs and barks,