National Senior Pet Month
Every year, the entire month of November is dedicated to senior pets. For the whole month we celebrate National Senior Pet Month.
But what is a senior pet, and why do we have to make such a big thing out of it? What if there was a way to turn back the clock, or at least slow it down a little. Wouldn’t it be better if there was no such thing as a senior pet, just a pet who is a little older than it used to be? Well it can be done. It just takes a little extra effort on our part.
Where on earth does the time go
None of us like to think of our pets as seniors. It’s a reminder of how quickly time passes, and how much shorter their lives are than ours. And yet there is so much we can do to improve their senior years. So much we can do to make the word senior nothing more than a meaningless word in fact.
Because your dog, or your cat, doesn’t know it’s a senior. Our companion animals have no concept of time in the way that we do. To them, every day is another day and nothing more. The march of time means nothing to them.
So they move a little less slowly than they used to. So they ache a little more than they once did. Big deal. They don’t sit around bemoaning life’s regrettable inconveniences as we do. They just get on with life as normal. Enjoying the things they can still do, not doing the things that have become increasingly difficult. Just taking every day as it comes as they have done since the day they were born.
So let’s look at a few ways we can make your pet’s life as happy and as long as humanly possible, and not worry about this passage of time thing that we humans get so hung up about!
The most important thing you can do for your dog (or your cat) is to feed it properly. And by that I mean provide it proper food. A healthy diet. That means binning the convenience food. The unhealthy commercial pet food.
If you want your pet to live a long and healthy life, you need to make it home cooked or raw food. Cat food may be less problematic, and I readily admit that my field of expertise is dog nutrition. But without a doubt, commercial dog food is shortening dogs’ lives. If you want your dog to remain healthy and active as the years roll by, feed it the way dogs have been fed for thousands of years. Fresh food!
In terms of health and longevity, the evidence is as strong on the subject of weight as it is proper nutrition. Being overweight shortens pets lives, end of story!
Studies show us that even being moderately overweight can shorten your dog’s life by up to 20%. In the case of a smaller dog, that could mean by as much as 2 or even 3 years. If that isn’t a wake up call to the hidden dangers of canine obesity, I don’t know what is!
As your dog ages and starts to slow down, reduce its calorific intake accordingly. Being overweight will shorten the life of your companion animal considerably. Managing your pet’s weight throughout it’s life will exponentially improve it’s chances of living a long, healthy and happy life.
In the world of animal husbandry there is a principle known as behavioural enrichment. It’s also referred to as environmental enrichment. It’s about finding ways of improving the lives of companion or captive animals by providing them stimuli to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Finding things that make them happier.
You can enrich the life of your companion animal, particularly your dog, in any number of ways. Plenty of exercise or some kind of dog sport springs to mind if your best friend is of the canine persuasion. If your companion animal is a cat, some kind of stimuli that mimmicks their wild side is generally recommended to keep them mentally stimulated.
So there you have it. By all means celebrate National Senior Pet Month. But you have it entirely within your power to make your dog’s so called ‘senior years’ just as happy, just as much fun as it’s youthful years!