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Spending The Holidays With A Senior Pet Denver CO

December 15 2023

Happy Holidays! Many of our four-legged patients somehow manage to look even cuter than usual at this time of year. We always love seeing pics of Fluffy and Fido in front of the tree. Of course, kittens and puppies tend to get most of the attention, at least when it comes to posing for holiday photos. Senior animals are also super cute and lovable. However, pets in their golden years do need some extra TLC. Read on as a local Denver CO vet offers some tips on holidays with Older pets.

What Are Good Gifts For Fido?

If Fido could write his own wish list to Santa Paws, well, we have a pretty good guess what would be on it: toys and treats. These are still great gifts for Senior pooches. When choosing toys for an older dog, choose things that are soft on Fido’s mouth. Items that light up or make noise are also a good bet. As for treats, opt for healthy options. We would advise checking with your Denver CO vet for specific recommendations

If your canine pal has thin fur, he may appreciate a new doggy jacket or sweater. (A Santa outfit wouldn’t be inappropriate.) Fido may also appreciate grooming products, such as paw wax or dental flakes.

Beds also make our list of great options for senior dogs. Fido needs a good orthopedic bed to cushion his bones and joints from cold floors, and help him sleep comfortably as he’s dreaming of bacon and squirrels. Pet ramps or stairs are also a good bet.

What Are Some Good Presents For Senior Cats?

Kitties usually age slowly and (at least somewhat) gracefully. For the most part, Fluffy’s wish list will look the same as that of any other cat. She’ll still enjoy catnip mice, or perhaps a new laser pointer. Beds, of course, are the universally accepted present for kitties. Pet ramps or stairs are another good option for kitties. You may also want to look into getting your pet a piece of furniture with a ‘brush’ loop she can rub against. Older felines often have trouble grooming themselves, so your pet may appreciate the extra tools. Your kitty may also appreciate litterboxes with low walls, or some cat furniture that’s easy for her to get on and off.

What Are Some Holiday Hazards For My Aging Pet?

Senior pets are still at risk from the typical hazards we advise all pet owners to be cautious of. These include food, decorations, and flames. You’ll also want to pay attention to the weather. Older pets often get stiff and sore when it’s damp out. Make sure your furry friend has a comfortable bed. 

How Can I Reduce Holiday Stress On Senior Pets?

While some dogs and cats definitely have a taste for adventure, senior pets tend to be very much homebodies. They also just feel safer and more comfortable on a steady routine. Senior pets can get quite distressed by anything that upsets their usual day-to-day world. That includes things like commotion, decorations, parties, weather changes, guests, and travel. Fido and Fluffy may even get stressed out by that singing reindeer in the hall!

One thing you can do to help your four-legged buddy cope is to make sure that they have a safe, comfy spot to retreat to, to get away from all of the commotion. For cats, you can offer a variety of hiding places, such as spots under the bed or spaces under the couch, as well as kitty condos, boxes, pet tents, and cat towers. As for Fido, if he is crate trained, take time to make his crate extra comfortable, such as adding a few new toys.

Depending on your house setup, you may also want to make your furry buddy a spot in a quiet back room. Provide necessities, such as bedding, toys, food, and water, and turn a TV or radio on for background noise. Put a baby gate at the door, so your furry friend doesn’t feel isolated. This is also a good idea for New Year’s Eve: many pets are terrified of fireworks. 

Reconsider Traveling With Older Pets

Traveling can be hard on any pet. It can be particularly trying for aging dogs and cats. One reason is simply that even being picked up or transported can be uncomfortable for pets in their golden years, simply because they can be quite stiff and sore. Fluffy and Fido also tend to get rattled by disruptions to their daily routines.

If possible, we would recommend leaving senior pets at home. Given the option, Fido and Fluffy would probably opt for a petsitter, as this is the least disruptive option for them. However, in some cases, boarding will be a better option. Pets with medical issues, for instance, may need care on a level that is beyond that of the average petsitter. No matter what you do, make sure your pet’s accommodations will be safe and comfortable for them.

What Are Good Treats For Senior Pets?

Those delicious foods are often at the center of holiday celebrations. Just be careful here.  First and foremost, it’s important to know what foods aren’t safe for dogs and cats. That list includes chocolate; raw dough; dairy products; meat on the bones; avocado; fruit with seeds or pips; garlic and onions; grapes and raisins; and items that contain xylitol. These are unsafe for pets of any age. With older pets, you also need to be cautious about offering rich, fatty treats. The occasional piece of cheese or bacon is fine, but too many greasy foods can upset Fido and Fluffy’s furry tummies.

Are Supplements Good Stocking Stuffers For Older Pets?

Many senior pets can benefit from specific supplements. The type of supplement that is best for your pet will depend on their age, size, and health. For instance, a dog with arthritis may benefit from fish oil or glucosamine, while a pooch with skin issues may do better with a Vitamin E supplement. Chinese herbal medicine may also be a good bet. You can also consider mushroom supplements, or CBD products. That said, supplements are not one-size-fits-all. Be sure to talk to your Denver CO veterinarian before starting your pet on any supplements.

TIps For Decorating With Older Pets

Those pretty holiday decorations can really transform your home into a beautiful, cozy scene. Just keep your furry buddy in mind when decorating. Pets that can’t see well—or at all—often have trouble when things are moved or rearranged, which increases the risk of slips and falls. Keep decorations off the floor, so Fido and Fluffy won’t trip on them. And while dogs and cats in their golden years aren’t usually quite as prone to chewing on things as puppies and kittens, it’s still best to leave potentially dangerous items, such as small or sharp objects, in spots they can’t reach.

Stress is also something to keep in mind, especially with loud decorations. You may love that snowman that sings Jingle Bells whenever anyone walks by, but Fido and Fluffy may be terrified of it.

How Do I Help My Senior Pet Enjoy The Holidays?

Simple: make them feel loved and safe! At the end of the day, your pet only wants to hang out with you. Carve out some quiet quality time with Fido and Fluffy. There’s a lot to be said for enjoying a beloved seasonal movie—whether it’s Die Hard or any of the Lifetime/Hallmark movies—with your four-legged friend. Enjoy this special time in your pet’s life!Seasons greetings from all of us here at , your Denver CO animal clinic. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

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