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Holidays With Older Pets: Keeping Fido and Fluffy Jolly This Month

December 15, 2023

Holiday greetings! We always enjoy receiving photos of our furry patients looking adorable in front of festive trees. Fido and Fluffy somehow get even more adorable than usual at this time of year. Although kittens and puppies often steal the spotlight, we can’t forget about dogs and cats in their golden years.. Fido and Fluffy are just as charming and lovable as their younger counterparts, and are always super cute when they’re peacefully snoozing in front of a pretty tree or cozy fireplace, dreaming of sugar plums or squirrels. Keep reading for tips from a Louisville, KY veterinarian on helping senior pets have a comfortable and joyful holiday season.

What Are Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress For My Older Pets?

Although some of our canine and feline companions definitely have a taste for adventure, most dogs and cats in their golden years are homebodies who both enjoy and feel safer on a steady routine. Senior pets can get quite distressed when their environment and/or daily napping/meal/looking adorable schedules get disrupted! Fido and Fluffy can also be upset by commotion, guests, decorations, and travel.

Provide your pet with a safe, comfortable spot to escape the commotion. For kitties, this could be cat1 condos, pet tents, boxes, or cat towers, or spots beneath a bed or behind the couch. If Fido is crate trained, add some new toys and/or bedding to his crate to make it comfier.

You might also want to set up a quiet back room for your furry friend. Offer bedding, toys, food, and water, and turn on a TV or radio for background noise. Put a baby gate at the door, so your four-legged senior won’t feel lonely or isolated. (If you live in a noisy area, it may be a good idea to do this on New Year’s Eve as well.)

Ask your Louisville, KY vet about calming products and techniques if your pet seems anxious.

What Snacks Can I Give An Older Pet?

First and foremost, never let Fido and Fluffy have anything unsafe. That list includes chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, meat on the bone, avocado, seeded fruits, raw dough, dairy products, and anything containing Xylitol, which is often labeled as birch sugar. Also, limit high fat treats. Although an occasional bit of cheese or bacon is okay, you don’t want to overdo it. Greasy and fatty foods can upset your pet’s stomach! Opt for plain, cooked meat, fish or poultry without the skin, bones or fat instead. For further details on your pet’s nutritional needs, reach out to your veterinarian in Louisville, KY.

Senior Pet Stocking Stuffers

Fluffy may enjoy catnip or some treats, while Fido may enjoy grooming products, such as paw wax. Toys and treats are good options here as well. Many aging pets also benefit from supplements. Consider your furry buddy’s age, size, and health when choosing supplements, as these are definitely not one-size-fits-all. A pooch with skin problems might benefit from Vitamin E, while one with arthritis may benefit more from glucosamine or fish oil. Consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any supplements.

How Do I Decorate With Senior Pets?

Keep your four-legged companion in mind when preparing your home for the holiday season. If your pet has vision problems, avoid altering the familiar setup of furniture or decor: layout changes can confuse pets and lead to slips and falls, which are of course quite dangerous for aging animals.

Although senior pets are less inclined to chewing things than younger ones, it’s still best to keep potentially harmful items out of paw’s reach. That list includes small or sharp objects, unsafe plants, candles, and stringy or ropy items. Ask your Louisville, KY vet for further guidance.

You may want to avoid things that are too loud or bright. You may love that reindeer that sings Jingle Bells whenever anyone walks by, but Fido and Fluffy may be scared of it.

Is Travel Safe For Senior Pets?

Traveling can be challenging for many pets, but it can be particularly hard on those in their golden years. For one thing, Fido and Fluffy can be pretty stiff and sore. Even being picked up and put into a carrier can be uncomfortable for them. Older pets also tend to get rattled whenever their daily routines are disrupted.

For short trips—like a visit over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house—it may be fine to bring Fido with you. Fluffy may also be fine at home by herself for a day or so. However, if you plan on being away for longer than that, we suggest finding a caregiver. In-home pet sitters are typically the least disruptive option here, as your furry companion can maintain their normal routine. Boarding at a kennel may be a safer choice for many older pets, especially if having someone stay at your home isn’t possible. Keep in mind that older dogs and cats, particularly those with medical concerns, may require more specialized care than most pet sitters can provide. Ask your Louisville, KY veterinarian for specific advice.

What Can I Get My Senior Dog As A Present?

A good orthopedic bed is a ‘pawesome’ present for Man’s Best Friend. Fido needs something to cushion his stiff bones and joints and help him sleep comfortably. A good bed will also provide insulation from cold floors. Pet ramps and stairs are also good choices. 

Of course, your canine companion will never outgrow his love of toys and treats. Choose soft toys that are gentle on Fido’s mouth, or perhaps some that light up or make noise. When choosing treats, opt for healthy ones. Ask your Louisville, KY veterinarian for more information.

What Are Some Good Gifts For An Older Cat?

Most of the time, our feline overlords age gracefully. (Or, at least somewhat gracefully.) Fluffy’s wishlist is pretty similar to that of any other kitty. She will still be happy to find herself with a new laser pointer or catnip mouse. Beds, pet ramps or stairs, grooming furniture, and comfy pet furniture can all make great gifts for kitties. A litterbox with low sides is also a good bet. 

Your pet may also appreciate a pet fountain, or perhaps a new scratching post. (There are some really cute ones now.) Don’t forget to give your feline pal a few empty boxes after everyone is done opening their gifts! 

What Can I Do To Make Sure My Older Pet Enjoys The Holidays?

This one is simple: give them love and attention! Your adorable four-legged companion really just wants to spend time with you. We understand the holiday rush can be hectic, but carve out some time with Fido and Fluffy. Take a peaceful evening to watch a favorite seasonal movie with your lovable sidekick. The time we have with our animal companions can be fleeting, so cherish this special phase of your beloved pet’s life. Purrs and tail wags from aging dogs and cats really are truly precious! 

Happy Holidays! We wish you all a safe, happy, and wonderful holiday season. For all of your pet’s veterinary care needs, please feel free to contact our Louisville, KY animal clinic.

Happy Holidays! All of us here at Evergreen Animal Hospital, your Louisville, KY animal clinic, wish you a wonderful holiday season. Please feel free to contact us anytime!