Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, offers these quick tips for pet parents to help ensure their senior
pets remain as happy and healthy as possible:
Don’t miss regular veterinary checkups – Veterinarians suggest twice-yearly checkups for senior pets. Many diseases or health issues can be treated if caught early at a veterinary
visit. These regular checkups allow pet parents to discuss any changes they may have seen in their pet/s with the veterinarian and to learn more about warning signs they should be aware of. In his book, Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual, Dr. Marty
Becker suggests that pet parents ask their veterinarians about common issues specific to their dog’s breed, such as a predisposition to diabetes, kidney problems or severe arthritis.
Do focus on your pet’s dental health –
Adequate dental care is important for cats and dogs at each stage of their lives, but especially important for senior pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that periodontal disease can result in kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes; and
recommends that pet parents regular brush their pet’s teeth and have the pet’s teeth and gums checked at least once a year by their veterinarian. As a professional pet sitter, we are trained to do a head to tail check of the pets in our care.
A great way to better know the dog or cat in your care is to do a regular head-to-tail check-up (even twice weekly as our pets age) to really get acquainted with your furry friend’s body. Besides looking for the lump or bump, the human touch can
feel like a soothing massage to a senior’s stiff joints.
Don’t forgo your pet’s exercise routine – Physical and mental exercise is critically important for senior dogs and cats. Senior cats can benefit from
interactive toys and food puzzles to keep them entertained and to burn excess calories. While senior dogs may not be able to go on long, strenuous runs or hikes, shorter walks can help keep your dog lean and in good health. If your schedule prevents you from
regularly exercising your pets, consider using the services of a professional pet sitter to provide dog walks or cat visits while you are away from home.
Do use only a professional
pet sitter experienced in caring for senior pets – If long hours at work keep you away from home (or if you are traveling for work or pleasure), the services of a professional pet sitter can be used to ensure your senior pet can maintain
a healthy routine, including its regular exercise schedule.
“Just as some people are ‘dog people’ and others are ‘cat’ or ‘bird’ people, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to finding
the right pet sitter to meet the specific needs of you and your pet,” explains PSI President Patti J. Moran. “Pet owners should inquire about a potential pet sitter’s experience with senior pets and any specific training they’ve had,
such as Pet First Aid & CPR or PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program.”
As a professional pet sitter serving the communities of Elko and Spring Creek communitie, I’ve been trained to handle issues not only for seniors but
for all ages and I am certified in pet first aid & CPR.
I also believe my personal experience in dealing with aging pets gives my clients peace of mind that their pet is in good hands.