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Caring for Senior Pocket Pets

No one likes to get old. Your body starts to change, you start to look different, and you don’t feel as young as you used to. Because of this you must make lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your body and mind changing. Just like us our pocket pets age as well and unfortunately for some they age sooner than we like them to. By knowing when your pet is considered a senior and knowing how to make their life easier as they age you can help them welcome their senior years with joy!

At what age is my pocket pet considered a senior?

Pet Age

Guinea Pig 5 yrs old

Ferret 3-4 yrs old

Rat 18 months

Rabbit 5 yrs old

Hedgehog 4 yrs old

Sugar Glider 5-7 yrs old

Chinchilla . 10 yrs old

Gerbil 2 yrs old

Mouse 18-24 months old

Degu 5 yrs old

Diet changes

As your pocket pet ages it is normal to think that you need to automatically change its diet. However, most of the time if your pet is already on a good quality food, and if the food has enough of the essential vitamins and minerals you might not need to change their diet at all. A good way to know if you need to change your pets diet is to regularly weigh them. You should start doing this when your pet is considered a senior and you can weigh them either daily or weekly. If they start to lose or gain weight you should consult with your veterinarian on your next steps in finding a new food for your senior pet. If your pet is not changing its weight then it is safe to keep their diet the same.

Activity and housing changes

Just like people as your pet starts to age activities and moving around can start to get harder to do. Climbing up ramps, jumping, and running may start to get harder for them. No matter your pocket pets age housing is always going to be one of the most important things to have correct. When it comes to housing a senior pet if you notice that they are not wanting to climb up their ramps you can start to put their food and water on the main level of their house. This way they do not have to climb up a ramp and it is easier for them to access it. It is important to keep their house clean and have the correct bedding and temperature to keep their immune system and respiratory system from being compromised especially in your pocket pets senior years.

Grooming and Hygiene

Your senior pocket pet should still be able to groom themselves even through their senior years. If they do stop grooming themselves you will start to notice matts, feces caught in their coat, and their general appearance looking not as clean. It is important if they do not groom themselves that as the owner we brush them to make sure their coat stays clean. It is also important to monitor their nails. As your pocket pet gets older they may not be as active and may not be able to file down their nails as well as they used to. It is important if you start to see your pocket pets nails getting long to get them trimmed. This is very important because as the nails get long they can start to be painful for the pet to walk on which then makes it harder for them to get to their food and water. Some owners are able to do them themselves but you have to be careful not to hit the quick in the nail. You can always take your pocket pet to your local pocket pet veterinarian and have them trim their nails.

When our pets start to age and reach their senior years it is only natural for us to worry about them and want to make things as easy as possible for them. After knowing when they are considered “seniors”, and knowing when to make changes it is possible to make your pets senior years a very happy time for them and you. These changes can even help your pet live a little longer.

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