Top Tips For Pet Parents Of Senior Pets

7 top tips for caring for senior pets

Caring for a senior pet is an important step in every pet owner’s journey, and as our pets grow and change with age, so do their needs. So, we wanted to share some of the ways you can help your senior pet stay happy and healthy — and how to help make their twilight years their best yet.


This is really handy.
I applied for a sit of a 17 year old cat.

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My oldest rabbit is 11.5 years old which is very elderly. He’s the longest lived of my rabbits so far, so it’s definitely a learning curve! He has a great appetite but also arthritis so he’s content to stay in their ‘home base’ whilst his female companions run around; he just waits for them to return to base for snuggles and snoozes.

They are house rabbits, fortunately, so it’s easy to keep an eye on him (the girls go outside to play every day).

I like this chart converting rabbit ages into human ages: Rabbit Years to Human Years

So my old boy is in his mid 80s, and his friends are ‘late middle age’. He’s done brilliantly :clap:


I fostered an elderly cat for a domestic abuse charity (the charity places pets with foster homes whilst supporting the pet’s owners to leave their abusive home. People are often unwilling to leave abusive situations if they cant take their pet(s), knowing the abuser will take it out on them. Anyway…)

I ended up adopting him in March 2020 just after the UK lockdown started, as his owner didnt want him back. He became ill in May and ultimately died in October, so whilst it was incredibly stressful and hard work at times, I still think it was one of the best things I did. It took me months to stop missing him, especially at night, even though I’d only had him for 18 months.

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@Ketch thank you so much for volunteering as a foster carer for such an important charity and for giving a helpless pet with no voice and no choice the chance to live his best life, even for a short time, that will be the life he felt and remembered the most.

They make a place in our hearts no matter how long they are in our lives and the sadness and the feeling of loss is profound, they are family.

Many of us who have lost our own pet family members find huge comfort and healing from pet sitting, I know I have so thank you for sharing your fur and feathered family with us.

I am so sorry for your loss … sending healing wishes.


I am just having a sad situation with a cat . The homeowner thinks her elderly cat is very healthy and skipped the yearly annual. I came to house sit 2 weeks ago and had a lovely night with the family. I was here for couple hours and the cat bowl didn’t get touched. I didn’t stay in the house. Arrived next day, HO was changing the food bowl which was still full. So they showed me another kind of food if he gets picky. And they left. That night I tried to bond with the cat and I see labor breathing or I thought so. After a week of having food issues and the cat having as far I can see difficult breathing, called parents and went to the Dr.
The cat has been in a severe heart failure. I was correct about breathing and it was impossible to breath, he was full of water.
So anybody watching elderly babies, there is a lot involved. I spent hours at the vet, than to a specialist then to emergency hospital to be admitted because weekend no Drs around.


HI @Grandma I’m sorry you are having a stressful time with your sit and so sad for the dear cat who I hope is now in the very best of care … For help and advice members can use Veterinary Helpline this is included in the owner membership and sitters have access when on a sit.

It can be very rewarding but also sometimes challenging caring for senior pets, having all of their health & veterinary care information is a must, I hope this was all in the Welcome Guide for you. Thank you for all that you have done for him, I’m sure he knows how much you care and so will his human family.

Take care of yourself and if you need any help and support we are here for you.

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Thank you.

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Aw @Grandma, so sorry to read of this. Poor old cat, he’s lucky to have your care and attention. (It seems like his owners have been in denial or unobservant.) He’s such a handsome boy too. Is there any news?

I’m planning on leaving full Just In Case instructions for my elderly one when I go away (and will be taking all three for a check-up about a fortnight before I go).

Also all the necessary items original birth certificate, vaccinations and every single paper even H O credit card copy. I have been to every hurdle.
Now I brought cat home and have to see his Dr. Call office to find out booked today.
I have no discharge orders, no dietary orders and since last week seeing only Drs who have free time.
HO and HS cover your basis.


Better to subscribe to an online vet help service. The TH helpline is just a vet nurse helpline and I found it to be of little help when I used it recently. They have no email or text message service and despite the fact they told me they would call me back within a few hours, I had to call them back after 24 hours and got some b….hit excuse from them!

Good to know.

Poor cat - and poor you, this must be incredibly stressful. You’re doing a great job, I’m sure he appreciates your care.

For continuity of care, I suggest sitters/homeowners make sure the sitter has the regular vet’s contact details. I would fully expect a sitter to contact my vets (who have 24 hour cover) if there were any issues. [Particularly in the UK, where my pets are considered “exotic” and require a specialist vet.]


Perfect but if the do not have a vet and owner is not contactable?

Hi @Willexcell I’m sorry you had that experience with the Vet Line could you please DM the details? They are a triage service and not diagnostic which is entirely different of course but the service should be reliable & complete.

If you could provide the date, time, location and sit details.

Thank you

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Meant to also say that the owners were working away and I did not want to bother them. I will seek out an online vet referral for other pets that are not part of THS so this should help in a dire emergency. Even if you tried to do something, it would just be my word against theirs so ilI think it is not worth trying as I will eventually have my own pet so it will be a useful “testing of the waters”!

Ketch, THS offer free vet “advice”. If I wanted vet
care, then obviously a different course of action
Would be required. I was being pro-active in
Identifying a rash and so was able to monitor it and how the dog was coping. Why would anyone want to alarm an owner who was away on a work
Assigment when it was a minor skin rash and the the dogs was not showing signs of distress? It there was an escaltion of the problem, that would be a different story.


Why did the owners nor RUSH home? They should have been there, this shouldn’t have fallen on you after your initial emergency vet visit.

I was once petsitting for a sweet elderly dog who had a stroke around 2 am. I got her to the emergency vet, they cared for her, she became stabilized. I waited until a decent hour like 7 am to call the homeowners and let them know. They were on a vacation trip about 8 hours drive away. I expected them to jump in their car and head back. They did not. They continued on with their vacation as planned and left me to care for their girl for several more days. I to
This day cannot believe that. I would be heading home so fast!

I don’t know. But was nice , after they arrived, he passed on her arms.

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