Anyone else a sucker for senior pets? Their sweet, gentle eyes, their feisty-set-in-their-way habits, and their genuine happiness just to be near their family.
I’ll be the first to promote senior pet adoption having worked in an animal shelter, fostered senior animals and adopted senior pets through the years.
But I’ll also say this… it is work to make them comfortable and keep up with their needs. It’s easy for me to say that it’s worth all the late nights, multiple messes every day and heartache saying goodbye before you’re ready because I would do anything to help an animal live the life they deserve. But I also want to say that there are many ways to make the day to day more manageable for your lifestyle.
Here are 15 essentials I keep on hand for my senior pets:
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- Pill Pockets & syringes – serious lifesavers for administering meds.
- T-shirt or thunder shirt – I haven’t used the thunder shirt personally, because I’ve found that just a simple dog t-shirt has warmed up and calmed my senior boy just fine.
- Comfy bed for their arthritic body.
- Easily washable, cozy blankets – I often find clearance ones when I’m out shopping and cut them up smaller so they are easier to clean. Also, check out your local thrift stores and see if there’s something that could be easily washed.
- This harness, instead of a collar – old dogs could benefit from less pulling on their necks, and instead, more support around the chest to make for more comfort when walking.
- This wagon – this was such a game-changer for the quality of life of our boy. He couldn’t walk the whole way but I didn’t want to leave him at home either. It was a perfect balance of getting a little physical and mental exercise.
- Gates – these are so helpful in keeping your senior pets that are hard of seeing from unsafe situations like stairs, deck openings and basements. Because of all of our accidents, and a senior boy with no eyesight or hearing, but a real power nose that seemed to find the garbage, we also used these make-your-own-design gates to keep the dogs in one area while we’re not home.
- Canary – or any type of home camera that allows you to keep an eye on them while you’re out of the house. It’s been such a peace of mind being able to see everyone is ok while we’re away from the house. This is the exact camera we have at home and love it. If I were to get an additional one, I’d find one that you’re able to move remotely from your phone.
- Ramp or stairs – we haven’t needed this yet because our senior pets have always been small, but we are on the verge of getting one for one of our dogs who is dealing with spine issues that don’t allow his back legs to work very well. With a ramp he’d be able to get on and off the deck easily when it’s time to potty, and with stairs, he’ll be able to help himself up and down from the furniture without jumping.
- Pet washcloths – for eye and ear cleaning and quick wipedowns if they get dirty
- Pee pads – we’re yet to find a greener option than training pads for this, but we went far too long without protecting our floor and wiping up messes as they happen, but when we’re cleaning up 7 messes a day, we needed something more reasonable for our workdays and opted to cover their area with training pads.
- Eye drops – after consulting with our Vet, we found that with our boys and their dry eyes, we’re able to give artificial tears to relieve some of the symptoms. PLEASE do not do this without talking to your vet first and making sure you get the right kind.
- Schedule/grid for meds – keep a recorded system to keep your house members on track with the med schedule and to help any pet sitters keep track.
- Slip-proof mats – or easily washable rugs so that they aren’t slipping on the hard floors or straining to walk.
- Organic pumpkin & white rice – for upset bellies on the fly.
By the way, if you shop on Amazon, don’t forget to use Smile! Amazon donates to a charity of your choice for each purchase – I’m currently supporting Rancho Relaxo, an animal rescue farm and true sanctuary run by absolutely amazing, hard-working, loving and inspiring people.
We will not stop until their voices are heard.-Rancho Relaxo