Caring for Your Geriatric or Special Needs Pet

man hugging a small dog on a couch

Those of you who know me know that I am an ardent exerciser and always have been. This dedication to exercise is in part to facilitate graceful aging as well as general well-being. However, even with exercise, the aches and pains continue to move systematically around my body. The same goes for our aging friends. We, at All American Pet Resorts, love our aging friends and specialize in making their visits with us as comfortable as possible.

Here’s what we do:

First, we make sure that they feel the love we have for them by using their name, petting, and hugging them during every interaction.

Next, we make sure that they have beds that they can use. This sounds like a given; however, our standard beds are raised, sling-style. If an old friend has trouble stepping up onto the bed, we make sure that his bed is ground level with plenty of extra bedding and padding to keep his old bones warm and comfortable.

Next, we get them up every two-three hours. We find that they need more potty breaks than our younger friends and just like us; aging joints need to move in order to stay healthy. This also gives us the opportunity to feel and smell the bedding. If it is damp or smells, it is replaced immediately. We want all pets, clean and dry during their stay – it is their basic right and demonstrates the respect we have for them.

Many older pets are on medication. Using our proprietary resort management software’s notification report, we ensure that no medication is ever missed and that it is given in the appropriate dosage and at veterinary designated intervals.

Just because pets are old doesn’t mean that they cannot socialize with friends. As a matter of fact, we see that geriatric pets, although not very active, love being in group play. We like to have them interacting with other aging friends; however, that decision is made jointly with the pet owner.

Just as with us, our weight can become problematic as we age. Ask us about our Weight Management Program. It is a proven fact that thinner pets age easier than obese ones. (We do too.)

Some pets get cognitive dysfunction syndrome which is similar to Alzheimer’s. Symptoms include disorientation, less social interaction, altered sleep patterns, and house soiling. At our resorts, we offer owners the option of including Cognitive Time. This can be a game with a caregiver or a toy filled with treats. Treats are hidden in the toy. The pet has to work with the toy in order to release the treats for a reward. Again, similar to humans, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Finally, some aged pets need mobility assistance. We are experts at managing slings and other mobility aids. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is too good for our aging best friends. 

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