No matter how old your furry friends get, you want them to have happy and healthy lives. However, the further dogs progress into old age, the more cautious you need to be in terms of their care.
Old dogs are more prone to illness and injury than younger ones. If you don’t make some lifestyle adjustments for your senior dogs, their health is more likely to fail.
Fortunately, you can take many steps to ensure that your senior dogs remain healthy and comfortable for years to come.
Read on to learn about our seven top tips on caring for senior dogs.
1. Prioritize Good Nutrition
As dogs get older, one of the most important ways to ensure they stay healthy is by feeding them a nutrient-rich diet..
You should have a different focus in terms of nutrients, depending on your dog's individual needs. For example, a dog that begins to suffer from brittle bones in later life will need a diet higher in calcium.
Also, ensure that your dog's diet is not causing excess weight gain. Dogs get less physically active, and their metabolism also slows down as they age.
Weigh your dog regularly. If your pet starts to put on weight steadily over time, you need to modify its food intake accordingly.
2. Don’t Give Up on Exercise
Some owners stop going for long walks with their dogs as soon as they show any sign of age-related stiffness. While too much exercise can be a bad idea for an aging dog, too little activity is just as bad.
To keep your dog physically healthy and mentally sharp, you need to make sure they get the right amount of exercise.
The best way to get this right is to observe your dog after a walk. If they seem unusually tired or stiff after a long walk, you should reduce the distance or pace of future walks.
3. Pay Attention to the Important Signs
Some health difficulties are easy to spot in older dogs. However, some require owners to look a little more closely.
The primary thing to look out for in all aging dogs is the loss of mobility. As your animal ages, they will slow down somewhat; you need to be mindful of this when deciding on their exercise regime.
Other issues that commonly arise include incontinence, heart health issues, and even dementia. Experts in this study noted many similarities between canine cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease in humans.
4. Know the Health Risks That Come With Your Breed
Purebred dogs tend to have more health difficulties than dogs of a mixed breed. Some breeds are particularly prone to specific health conditions.
Labradors, for example, tend towards obesity once they get older. German Shepherds have a strong tendency towards stomach issues, such as bloat or gastric dilation.
If you know the health difficulties that are likely to arise in your pet, they will be easier to spot if and when they happen.
5. Visit the Vet More Regularly
As your pet gets older, you should make sure to bring them to the vet more often.
There are certain health issues that only a vet will be able to point out. Catching such a condition in time is likely to make the dog’s prognosis far more positive.
Visit the vet once a year with your pet. When your dog gets older, you should visit as often as once every six months.
Experts consider that, on average, a dog is senior once they reach between five and ten years of age. However, this depends on the size and breed of the dog in question. Generally, the bigger they are, the faster they age.
6. Get a Special Bed if Your Dog Needs One
Problems like arthritis and issues related to joint dysplasia are more common in older dogs. Unfortunately, you can't do much to reverse these conditions.
However, there are measures you can take to keep your dog comfortable if they develop such a condition. One of the most important is getting them an orthopedic bed.
This is simply a bed that supports a dog's musculoskeletal system to prevent degeneration and pain. If your dog has an excellent orthopedic bed, they should not feel the floor when they lie down.
7. Keep an Eye Out for Hearing or Vision Loss
It’s easy to notice when your dog becomes slower in their movements. However, other symptoms of aging, such as hearing or sight loss, can go unnoticed much more easily.
A dog losing their hearing or sight is potentially dangerous, especially if they have the freedom to roam away from home. Without their full set of senses, they are much less likely to notice a hazard like an oncoming car.
Keeping Your Dog Safe & Happy Throughout Their Golden Years
Every creature, human, canine, or otherwise, has to get older at some point. Rather than ignoring it or pretending like it won’t happen, it’s good to prepare as much as possible to make the transition into older age a comfortable one. An aging dog is also prone to anxiety. Under the guidance of its vet, one can use CBD capsules for pain.
By following the seven pieces of advice above, you’ll be taking the best possible care of your dog in their older years.