One aspect I didn't see mentioned yet is the ability for the animal to simply scratch her/himself for an itch.
A stiff, painful spine disables the dog/cat from doing so, as does hip pain, or missing and dysfunctional hind limbs. Imagine what it is like when it itches and you cannot scratch.
So regularly offering a good neck, ear, all over face scritch and scratch is one of the chores I included in keeping an animal friend comfortable.
Feli with her spinal issues needed scratching, and so does my cat Captain Jack who has incomplete hind legs, incl. missing paws.
Feels so good!
Chip vom Dog Pound, border terrior, Director of Rodent Control, CGC
Elly von Rescue, GSD, CGC, HI(C)
Captain Jack, Mama Blue, Little Orca, Bübchen, Tux, Cherub (pocket lions)