For our elderly pets having a routine can be very important.

An arthritic dog benefits from regular exercise, and under normal circumstances we often recommend little and often, the length of it varying with each individual dog’s circumstances. During the time you are unable to go for a walk more than once a day, it’s important to try to stick to what suits your pet as much as possible.

Suddenly doing a much longer walk than normal could put your pet at risk of pain flare up, and too little could make him feel more stiff than usual.

Keeping your one walk per day to the same as you normally would do, and rather trying to get a bit more walking done in your garden, would provide a good middle ground.  We would not recommend high energy games in older pets (such as ball games) unless this is something you would normally do. Try to think of ideas that will both provide gentle exercise and mental stimulation- such as hiding treats for example. 

If your elderly pet is on medication it’s important to stick to the recommended dosage, unless your vet recommends changing this. An online consult can be a great way of speaking to the vet, if you have concerns regarding medication at this time. 

Having less exercise than normal will also mean that less calories will be burned. You may not be able to weigh your pet, but it’s important to monitor their weight as best as you can and perhaps discuss with the vet whether it should be reduced for the time being. Always being at home may make it more tempting to give more treats too (to both 2 and 4 legged!). 

For the elderly cats that still enjoy going outside- they can be blissfully unaware of any trouble in the world and can keep up their sunbathing as normal.  

And last but not least, I believe that at this time we can let our elderly pets feel the benefit of having most of us at home more than usual.

 It’s an opportunity to give them a little bit more attention, giving them a little bit more love, a few more snuggles on the sofa. It will provide us with stress relief and our pets with comfort. 

Merel Taal DVM MRCVS

Merel Taal DVM MRCV CHPV Founder and Marketing Director of Dignipets Merel founded Dignipets in 2015 to offer an alternative approach for pets and owners at a very difficult time. She is recently certified in palliative and hospice care and loves sharing all her newfound knowledge and experience with pet owners and colleagues.