Ageing Gracefully

Ageing pets

Growing older…. It’s the one constant in life that affects all of us – even our beloved pet pals. While pups and kittens will be bounding around the yard playing catch, our canine and feline friends may be slower to get to the ball.

While it depends on breed and size, generally dogs are considered ‘seniors’ at seven years old and cats today are ‘senior’ from approximately 11 years. Signs of ageing include general slowing down in their activity, more interest in sleeping, a cloudy tinge in their eyes or loss of muscle and weight gain.

As our pets age, their physical and mental well-being needs greater attention, and any noticeable changes in their behaviour should be reviewed by a vet. Our pets may be more prone to health issues as they age, such as arthritis and dental disease, but it’s also their emotional and mental well-being that needs extra care as they age.

Whether you’re a pet parent or filling in for one on a pet sit, it’s important to be aware of a pet’s life stage and their specific needs to live their best life.

Diet

Throughout their lives, our pet pals should have access to a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Gradually switching to a seniors diet may help your pet’s digestion, provide extra minerals for heart and kidney health and a boost to their protein intake. Provide pets with a high-quality diet and ensure it meets the Australian Standard for Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food, and always seek advice from a vet before changing your pet’s diet.

Mobility

It’s likely that an animal’s movement and energy levels will decrease as they get older. There are health conditions that will limit your pet’s mobility, so it’s best to get these identified and treated as soon as they become evident. For instance, if left untreated arthritis can be painful for animals and impact their overall well-being and happiness. If your pet has difficulty getting up after a rest or shows reluctance to jump up onto furniture, this could be a sign of arthritis. Get this checked out with a vet and continue to monitor your pet’s progress.

Exercise

While they may not seem as interested in exercising when they’re older, you need to continue regular exercise with senior pets to support their mobility. Adjust routines to suit your pet’s ability – exercises may be gentler, walks may be shorter and consider exercise such as swimming, which is easier on their joints.

Dental Care

Dental hygiene for pets is often overlooked, with dental disease affecting 80% of dogs by the age of three.[1] Dental disease can cause infections in the teeth and gums and can lead to more serious health issues with the kidney, liver or heart. Get your pet used to regular teeth brushing from a young age to avoid painful dental disease later in life.

Sensory Considerations 

As our pets age their sight, hearing and taste may be affected. If your pet has low vision, gently announce yourself when you approach them. If they have hearing loss, help them become familiar with hand signals or other cues to help them understand.

Mental Enrichment

Pets need mental stimulation throughout every stage of life, and it is just as important when they’re older. Continue to include your pet in family activities and outings, provide scent or food puzzles aligned with their ability and spend quality time with your four-legged friend to reduce cognitive decline in their later years.

Always consult a vet if you are concerned about your pet’s physical or mental well-being to get professional advice about treatments and strategies for senior animal care.

For more detailed advice about caring for older dogs, download the RSPCA Pet Insurance’s Old Pet Care eBook or see Templestowe Veterinary Clinic’s website.

[1] https://www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au/getattachment/pet-care/health/Older-pet-care-Guide-to-caring-for-older-dogs-(eB/article-documents-geriatric-pet-care-guide-ebook.pdf.aspx

 

Brush up on animal care skills for a happy pet

 

Malamute

Whether you’re a proud pet parent or an animal-loving pet sitter, brushing up on animal care credentials will not only give you more confidence to care for your pet-pal, but it will also result in a happier pet.

There are loads of animal care courses available that can help you take your pet care experience from wow to woweeeee! It’s all dependent on how much you want to drill down and specialise in animal care.

For those looking for short courses to delve deeper into caring for pets, Finder has listed a range of short courses that cover natural and holistic pet care, dog health and first aid, dog massage, health care tips for cat owners, and bird care and many more.

If you’re thinking of catapulting your love of animals into a career, Tafe Courses Australia offers animal care courses that allow you to hone on in what you love most about animals with Certificates in Animal Studies, Companion Animal Services and Pet Grooming.

If you’re still undecided, you can also find out more information about what it takes to become an animal care attendant, dog groomer, zookeeper, veterinary nurse and more!

Study in animal and pet care will ensure that whatever animal experience is ahead, you will be prepared to provide the best care possible. Extra study looks great on a pet sitter’s resume and for pet parents, extra care tips will never go astray.

Pet sitters have a range of experience in caring for pets and have a unique way of stepping into the role of pet parent while owners are away. To find an ideal pet sitter, browse pet sitter profiles online.

How to take a perfect pet photo

Taking a photo of our animal companions as their natural and true selves is something special that can be very hard to do. Pet photography requires time, patience and a love of animals, qualities which are all in abundance among the house and pet sitting community.

Whether you want to brush up on your photography skills or start drilling down into the technicalities of light, shutter speed and editing, we’ve found tips from some of the best in the business to help you along the way. Continue reading “How to take a perfect pet photo”

Helping your pet adjust to your return to work

back to work

We all know it’s coming – D-day for our return to work. For those of us who have spent weeks, if not months, at home enjoying the unwavering love and affection of pets, the time to begin our transition back to work and away from the day-long wagging tails of our fur-friends is on the horizon.

It is going to be hard, but spare a thought for our pet-pals. Until now, they have relished day-long attention on command. For some pets, their pet parents return to work could raise feelings of fear and anxiety. Continue reading “Helping your pet adjust to your return to work”

Caring for Rabbits*

It’s the soft fur and the twitching, little nose that makes bunnies so darn cute. Rabbits* are a popular pet-pal choice for families, and their social nature makes them great companions for any pet-loving household.

For a happy and healthy bunny, plan their environment, nutrition and entertainment before welcoming them as the fur-kid of your family. For more information about caring for rabbits head to RSPCA’s website. Continue reading “Caring for Rabbits*”

Sydney dog parks to take your pooch

Dog ParksA visit to the dog park is a great way for you and your pooch to enjoy some fun and exercise. There are loads of dog-friendly parks around Sydney to take your dog to spend quality time together. Remember to take note of on and off-leash areas and clean up your doggy’s poop when done. Here is a list of just some dog-friendly parks to take your hound this weekend.

Sydney Park, Alexandria

Dogs are allowed off-leash, and there is even a paddling pool for dogs. There are areas where pups aren’t allowed, so be sure to read the signs around the park. Continue reading “Sydney dog parks to take your pooch”

Pet Sitting Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs

Pet Sitting Guinea Pigs

Dogs, cat, horses, sheep; sometimes it seems that the larger the pet, the more attention they get. For smaller, four-legged, furry friends, a considerate care routine is just as important and will ensure the happiness and health of some of the world’s smallest companion animals.

Guinea pigs are cute and cuddly, inquisitive, intelligent, social, and friendly. They are known to live up to ten years and are ideal pets for families.

When taking on the responsibility of pet-parent to a guinea pig, consider this pocket pet’s personality for a healthy, happy life. Continue reading “Pet Sitting Guinea Pigs”

Pets and COVID-19

dog enjoying the sun

The World Health Organisation states that there is no evidence to suggest that domestic pets play a role in transmitting or spreading COVID-19 to humans. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reiterates this finding and considers the risk of pets transmitting the COVID-19 virus to humans as extremely low.

The RSPCA has compiled detailed information about the evidence available to date of COVID-19 and pets.

While COVID-19 remains within the community, pet owners need to take precautionary steps to protect themselves and their family, including the fur-kids in the household. Continue reading “Pets and COVID-19”

Safety Checklist for Pet Sits During COVID-19

covid19 pet care

Pets are good for our health and well-being. They are known stress relievers and have an extraordinary power that makes us feel an overall sense of happiness. As we all face a ‘new normal’ for everyday life, we could all use a touch of fur-friend happiness.

House and pet sits are making a comeback, with COVID-19 restrictions in Australia easing in some areas. But preparation and vigilance will be key in ensuring the safety of pet owners, pet sitters and our cuddly fur-friends.

The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Infections) offers tips and hints for staying safe at home. Below we’ve outlined some of the simple steps you can take to stay safe and healthy. Continue reading “Safety Checklist for Pet Sits During COVID-19”

3 Reasons Your Pet Needs to Stay at Home

At home with a pet

Our pets are our companions, our confidants, our best friends. We want to spend every moment enjoying their unconditional love and affection. It’s natural to want to have them by your side always. But for the times when we have to be away from home for an extended period, maybe leaving them at home is the best option for their safety and overall mental health and well-being.

A survey of Mindahome pet parents revealed that 96% said they chose a live-in pet sitter so their pet could stay in their own home environment. 66% felt that engaging a pet sitter would reduce their pet’s anxiety. 86% valued having a pet sitter for their pets to keep to their usual routine.

So no matter how much you love your pet, here’s some of the reasons why your pet may be better off staying at home. Continue reading “3 Reasons Your Pet Needs to Stay at Home”