Aging In Place

7/16/2021 | By Annie Tobey

Having a pet can enhance physical and mental health for people of all ages. Pets provide companionship, stimulation, security, connections to other people, and so much more. Despite the benefits, senior adults may worry about their ability to care for a pet, especially given challenges that often accompany aging. Fortunately, new technologies and gadgets can ease those concerns. From feeding to exercise and playtime, these pet care products for seniors help owners keep a furry friend by their side for longer.

Whether you’re an owner wanting to ease pet care or a caregiver wanting to ensure that your loved one and their dogs and cats are safe, consider these oh-so-handy products designed to help with pet care assistance for senior citizens.

1. Feeding

Automatic pet feeders meet a range of needs. These food receptables range from gravity feeders that dispense food as pets eat to electronic feeders with digital timers and remote smartphone control. With these feeders, gone are worries of forgetting about pet meals, overfeeding, or not getting home for dinnertime. Some even offer a two-bowl option for multi-pet households. (For dogs who scarf down their meals too quickly, also see the treat dispensing puzzle toys below.)

2. Hydrating

Watering fountains and automatic waterers mean that pets won’t be without fresh, clean water. Gravity waterers and fountains keep bowls full, and both have filtering options. The free-falling streams in fountains seem to encourage hydration, which helps prevent urinary and kidney diseases.

  • Recommended for dogs and cats: PetSafe Drinkwell two-gallon fountain with easy-to-clean design, including top-rack dishwasher safe and no hard-to-reach places

3. Cleaning a Litter Box

Leaning over to scoop soiled litter may not be on the list of safe activities for seniors having balance issues. Even if you have no physical limitations, this dirty task is probably not on your list of favorite chores! A self-cleaning litter box not only means less frequent cleaning, it also controls odors, making it one of the best pet care products for seniors. Now that’s a sweet benefit.

Related: Our 9 favorite technologies for pets

4. Taking a Walk

Not only do walks provide exercise for you and your dog, they can also provide fresh air, nature therapy, and even social interactions.

Picking up poop is a necessary evil of walking a dog! A long-handled pooper scooper enables you to pick up that nasty pile without bending over.

Illuminating evening walks keeps both of you safer. During winter months, when the sun sets early, lighting up your pet and yourself can extend the opportunities for healthy steps. The Noxgear line of products was initially designed for runner safety and has extended its product line to keep dogs safe, too.

  • Recommended: Noxgear LightHound wraps your pup in 360-degree illumination with six flashing modes and eight solid color modes and long-lasting rechargeable battery

5. Exercising Indoors

Sure, exercise is one benefit of having a dog, but our own physical limitations might keep us from giving him the exercise he needs to stay healthy and happy. If you can’t walk Ralphie enough, get him a doggie treadmill. After a brief learning session, he’ll exercise his body and mind as he walks.

  • Recommended for dogs: dogPACER MiniPACER Treadmill for small to medium dogs, with speed adjustments; can be collapsed for storage or transport

6. Entertaining and Stimulating

Don’t let the treadmill have all the fun! Playing with your dog and cat is enjoyable for you both, and bonding for your relationship. Certain toys make ideal pet care products for seniors; they can enhance your pet’s daily exercise, ease a pet’s stress, keep boredom at bay, and reduce the destructive behavior that boredom creates.

Keep-’em-busy toys are fun for your pet’s playtime – and fun to watch.

  • Recommended for dogs that like playing fetch: iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher with adjustable pitching range for inside and outside, small dogs and big dogs (iFetch also offers smaller brain teaser versions that roll the balls randomly out of one of the three chutes)
    • Recommended for dogs without retriever instincts: Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, makes sounds to engage your dog’s playfulness and tickle your funny bone

Treat-dispensing puzzle toys give pets extra incentive to play. They can also serve to slow down a pet who wolfs down his food too quickly. By using dry food that you would feed your dog at mealtime, you can ensure that he can enjoy his treat toy without overeating. Favorite tasty treat toys include the stuffable, sturdy, Kong balls or Kong Wobbler; snuffle rugs; and the Starmark Treat-Dispensing Chew Ball.

  • Recommended for dogs: Starmark Treat-Dispensing Bob-a-Lot wobbles and dispenses kibbles as the dog bats it around; comes in sizes for small and large dogs
    • Recommended for cats: PetSafe Slimcat Feeder Ball dispenses kibbles as the cat bats the ball around, providing fun and exercise or controlling food portions and feeding rate

Annie Tobey

Annie Tobey has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. As editor of BOOMER magazine, she explored a diversity of topics of particular interest to adult children of seniors. When she’s not writing, she can be found running the trails or enjoying a beer with friends.

Annie Tobey