Maintaining Senior Pet Health All Winter Long

Happy senior with her dogsWouldn’t it be nice if we could hunker down between December and April and only get out of bed for the bare necessities? Your senior pet might wholeheartedly agree with this decision. The truth is, winter is rough on everyone, but the key to sustained senior pet health is actually not hibernation – it’s the opposite.

Use It, Don’t Lose It

Keeping your senior pet active, even in the colder months, is crucial to his or her health. While we know motivation can be in short supply this time of year, we encourage you to keep up with a daily exercise routine as much as possible.

Winter Tips for Senior Pet Health

One way to prepare for the coming months is to schedule a senior wellness exam. We can assess your pet’s overall health and make recommendations to keep activity levels up – and weight off. Even a few extra pounds can be a large burden on aching joints.

Cold, damp weather can also increase the frequency and intensity of symptoms associated with arthritis. At Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital, we can help you find medications or treatments to mitigate stiff joints, soreness, and pain.

Can’t Stop Me

Because senior pets are more prone to frostbite, hypothermia, and dehydration, it’s vital to keep your aging companion as warm and cozy as possible. In general, we recommend pets living indoors most of the time in winter. However, for pets who have been living outside with the elements from infancy through adulthood, this can be a tough transition. If your senior pet is happier outside, be sure he or she has a warm, dry shelter and bed, nutritious food, and fresh, unfrozen water.

The Environment

If your senior pet is content remaining inside for the winter, be sure to examine your home for any hidden risks or challenges. Take a look at the paths and hallways your aging pet has to navigate. Portable ramps, carpeted areas, anti-slip tape, and special pet stairs could make getting around much easier for him or her. Remember, slippery or uneven surfaces can be risky for a senior pet.

And keep your senior pet warm with a padded bed that is not only comfy but keeps him or her off the cold floor.

On a Clear Day

If your pet fancies a romp in the snow or a brisk walk around the block, be sure to protect him or her with the following:

  • Specially insulated clothing, such as a jacket or vest (senior pets have slower circulation and get cold faster)
  • Booties to protect paws from ice, freezing cold sidewalks, and snowpack if tolerated

When returning from the outdoors, always be sure to dry your pet’s paws and inspect them for cuts and injuries. Also discourage your pet from lapping up puddles, as antifreeze can accumulate there.

A+ for Senior Pet Health

Keeping your senior pet safe, active, happy, and healthy sounds like a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be with help from our team. Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding senior pet health.

From our families to yours, we hope you and your pet enjoy a safe, warm winter!