Caring for a senior pet.

Author picture Jessica

Pawshake is a really good option to consider for an older pet, for the main reason that they can stay right where they are most happy – in a warm friendly lap, preferably right in their own cosy home. 

We think there’s nothing more rewarding than having a sweet senior in your care, so they deserve every bit of love and attention they can get! But you need to be prepared for a totally different experience to that of pet sitting a young cat or dog.

There are a few golden rules to follow when looking after a senior cat or dog:

Keep them warm.

It’s not uncommon for older pets to experience joint issues or arthritis, especially in the colder months. Make sure your furry pal has plenty of clean, warm bedding and a dry, draught-free spot to sleep. If possible, keep the home heating going when you’re inside with them and give them plenty of cuddles and pats (see, we told you this was a fun job!). 

But not too warm!

If it’s hot outside, you also want to be careful of that too. When the weather warms up, be sure only to walk your furry friend during the cool hours of the day. Make sure they always have plenty of fresh water and a shady spot to chill out.

Slow and steady.

Stop and smell the roses with your furry buddy! Just like humans, senior pets need more sleep throughout the day. They might be a bit less speedy standing up and walking, or navigating stairs….if you’re taking your furry friend for a walk, take it easy and don’t rush them.

Patience is a virtue.

Like humans, older pets can experience hearing or vision loss, as well as a loss of sensitivity to smell. Be patient with older pets and remember they just might not be able to hear or see you easily when you call for them. Some older pets might suffer from senility, so just having you there to remind them where to find the litter tray or their food bowl is a big comfort.


It can be a little harder for a senior pet to groom all those hard to reach spots….ask the pet owner if they have a special brush to comb out the pet’s fur. We bet they’ll love a good brush! 

Be prepared – think ahead.

Discuss with your pet owner client the best emergency vet to call, just in case, and have a plan should you need to make a visit. Also ask loads of questions about the pet’s usual routine and needs. Will you need to administer medication? Does the pet have a special diet, or extra preparation involved in getting their dinner ready? Will you need to brush their teeth, or give them dental chews? Get all of these details in advance.

Have fun!

It’s not all sleeping when it comes to senior pets! These adorable critters still need fun and stimulation throughout the day. Walks, food puzzles, gentle play and generally hanging out together will keep them happy and content.

Do you regularly look after a sweet senior pet, or are a proud owner? Let us know in the comments below!