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Caring for your senior pet

A dog or cat is considered senior after around 7 years of age, depending on the breed. Their needs may change as they get older, and you may need to care for them in different ways and make things more accessible. A senior pet may need more rest and comfort. They may also need easier access to their bed, food and water, especially if they develop arthritis or hip dysplasia. As every pet is unique, they show signs of ageing differently so it’s important to make some considerations where you can.

Best products to buy for your senior pet

With Christmas around the corner, you may be thinking about gifts for your furry friend, or how to make your pet comfortable this winter. In the colder months especially, it’s key to ensure senior pets are warm and dry to help keep them healthy and ease any pain in their joints.

Heated blankets or pads

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An ordinary bundle of blankets is a great option for your older cat or dog, as they can tuck in and get comfortable in their bed. If you’re worried your pet may get colder more easily in the winter, a heated blanket or pad could help them out. If your pet is shorthaired or in their old age then they might find it even harder to stay warm in winter. Make sure you dry your dog off as much as possible after walks, as being wet will cool them down more quickly.

Read our article about walking your dog in the rain for more advice.

Interactive toys

Mentally stimulating toys are important for pets of all ages. Interactive toys or puzzles are designed to keep dogs’ and cats’ minds active and engaged. Toys that hide treats inside them, such as snuffle mats or puzzle feeders, are wonderful enrichment tools for pets that offer numerous benefits.

Top gift idea for dogs: Snuffle mat

A snuffle mat engages a dog's natural foraging instincts, providing mental stimulation and preventing boredom. This type of interactive play helps reduce anxiety and can be particularly helpful for dogs with separation anxiety or hyperactivity issues.

Additionally, using a snuffle mat during mealtimes can slow down a dog's eating pace, promoting better digestion and reducing the risk of bloating.

Overall, a snuffle mat is a fantastic addition to a dog's life, promoting mental and physical health while offering a fun and rewarding experience.

Top gift idea for cats: Puzzle Feeders

Buying a puzzle feeder for your cat offers a variety of advantages for them. It mentally stimulates them and taps into their natural predatory instincts, providing enrichment as they work to retrieve their food. This not only prevents boredom but also encourages healthier eating habits by slowing down their meals, reducing the risk of overeating.

Puzzle feeders are a fun way to keep your cat engaged, mentally sharp, and satisfied, promoting their overall well-being while mimicking their instinctive hunting behaviours.

Pet steps

Investing in a pet step for your furry companion offers numerous benefits and provides easier access to elevated resting places. This will help with their physical well-being by reducing the strain on joints, especially for ageing or smaller pets. Pet steps encourage independence and boost their confidence, allowing them to join you on the couch or bed effortlessly. They also protect your furniture from scratches and keep your pet safe from potential injuries caused by jumping. Ultimately, it's a thoughtful addition to your home that enhances both your pet's comfort and your peace of mind.

Elevated water bowls

For senior pets, it’s harder for them to eat out of bowls that are placed on the floor, due to stiffness or arthritis. Buy elevated bowls instead, to help your pet reach their food more easily and comfortably. 

Non-slip mats

By placing down non-slip mats on corners or wooden floors where your pet has less grip, your pet will be safer and less likely to injure themselves. For dog’s joints especially, having stable and non-slip flooring is important to reduce falls and repetitive slipping. A rug could also be a solution for this.

Gentle grooming tools

Senior pets can have sensitive skin and when grooming them, this can be irritated. It’s important to maintain your pet’s coat by using a soft bristle brush to gently groom them.


Spend quality time with your senior pet. Giving them love and attention is one of the best Christmas gifts your pet can get. Affection is a great way to ensure your pet’s happiness and any extra products you get them at Christmas will be an extra treat.

Vet check-ups for senior pets

A senior pet check-up with Sandhole Vets in Snodland can ensure your pet is in the best possible shape they can be.

Regular vet check-ups for your older pet can help to spot any signs of concerns, such as arthritis, heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure and Cushing’s disease in dogs.

In the winter, we recommend limiting your pet’s exposure to snow. Make sure they are wrapped up for walks, as senior dogs will have an increased risk of hypothermia.

Long-haired dogs might collect snow on their coats when they go outdoors; keeping the hair between their toes short is important, as well as drying their legs and paws thoroughly when they get home.

Consult with your nearest vet in Snodland

Help your senior pet live a happier and healthier life in their later years with regular check-ups with us. We can check their general health and look for any signs of diseases that are prevalent in older pets, such as arthritis, heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure and Cushing's disease.

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