Pets often play a valuable role in family life. They are considered members of the family by many owners, and we share the ups and downs of their lives.
Like people, as they get older, it is important to adjust your expectations about what your pet is able to do.
Although each animal is different, like humans, pets sometimes demonstrate similar behavioral changes that alert us to the fact that their life is winding down.
Lifestyle Needs May Change
Although your dog may love physical activity and have a playful spirit, aging or health issues may impact the way your pet interacts with you or other members of the family.
Your pet may spend more time resting or napping.
Alternately, a quiet dog could become more restless and want to exercise more often.
A different pet food might be needed, and a softer bed may help to make your pet more comfortable when dealing with bodily aches and pains.
Personality Shifts Could Occur
Like any older person or someone with a serious health condition, your dog’s personality could become more mellow, or they might become more anxious and eager for affection.
Be ready to give your pet extra attention and reassurance if you notice changes like these.
A dog whose life is winding down might even seem somewhat depressed or sad.
Be aware that these changes are likely natural.
The veterinarian may be able to provide advice or medication that can help.
Your Relationship Might Need to be Adjusted
If your pet’s health is deteriorating, you will want to keep a close eye on his condition.
This could mean getting up at night to check your pet and to provide extra support through affection, observation, or medication.
You may need to become more of a caregiver than a companion to your pet.
Health Concerns May Increase
Although some pets may just naturally get older and prepare to pass away naturally, some might develop health issues that will require extra vigilance and support.
Your dog may begin to whine due to pain or anxiety.
Toileting issues may develop.
Talk to the veterinarian about changes like these and the best way to help your dog work through this stage of life.
You should also ask the vet about when to schedule a euthanasia appointment depending on your pet’s symptoms and condition.
There are some conditions where a vet will recommend euthanasia when your pet is in pain more frequently than not.
Losing a pet to old age or illness is never easy.
But being prepared and doing your best can make the situation easier on everyone.
Talk to the vet about what to expect and how to provide the support your beloved pet needs.