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Like humans, pets experience aging in many different ways. If you have a dog or cat nearing his wiser years, a routine that once suited your furry pal can become harder to follow as your pet adjusts to a more senior lifestyle. While the transition can take time and patience, there are a few ways to make this time special for both you and your four-legged friend…

In their later years, both dogs and cats can experience age-related cognitive decline, and keeping your pet engaged, whether it’s gentle physical activity or environmental stimulation, can be the perfect way to enrich his life. For example, if your cat has always loved a certain perch by the window, making it more accessible with a small stepping ladder or a few boxes will be easier on your furry friend’s joints. Similarly, if your dog has always been a big fan of fetch, he might enjoy laying on a mat and having the ball rolled towards him. Another fun way of engaging your pet? Teach him a new trick. Whether it’s training your cat to walk through a low hoop or teaching your dog to (finally) shake hands, giving daily attention and engaging your furry pal will not only strengthen your bond but engage their brain in a fun way.

In terms of exercise, a slow on-leash walk with your canine can be a great source of stimulation, and for non-mobile dogs, a walk in a carrier (or a ride with the windows down!) can be just as beneficial. For cats, stash away the laser and try puzzles and other games that require less leaping and more inquisitive exploring (like treats in an empty water bottle).

Lastly, being observant and watching for signs of discomfort or disorientation will ensure that your furry member of the family stays happy and pain-free. As always, we recommend taking your pet for frequent veterinary visits as signs of aging can often be subtle.

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