Much like caring for your elderly parent, caring for your aging dog requires just as much care, attention, and scrutiny. Some people, as surprising as it may be, actually opt to trade in their senior dogs for more energetic younger canines. However, your aging dog can offer you just as much love and companionship as ever before. and your canine would not be called man’s best friend for nothing.
Take into consideration that senior dogs require less exercise and have lesser behavioral issues. With that being said, do not assume that just because they are low maintenance in a number of ways, it means that they do not require special care and attention. Your dog’s basic needs may change and some alterations in your dog’s lifestyle and yours will have to be made in order to accommodate him.
Keeping an eye on your dogs as they age will ensure that the alterations made will benefit their health and immune systems. Vet visits, food alterations, and exercise regimens will change in accordance to your dog’s age.
Take Your Dog to the Vet
This actually goes without saying, but the older your dog is, the more vet visits and check-ups he or she may require. This can do wonders as it can factor out medical issues that are the usual causes for behavioral problems. The earlier you catch these medical problems, the better it will be for your canine.
Cesarsway.com suggests bumping up your vet visits twice a year. It is better for your dog’s health when the vet visits are semi-annual as it can catch early onsets for whatever condition may come about. Keep in mind that dogs age faster than humans, and so the vet visits will include routine checks that could include bloodwork, dental care, and other essential tests.
Control the Parasites
The older your dog gets, the more they are susceptible to health risks caused by ticks, fleas, and worms. Due to their old age, their immune systems will be weaker, and so it is best to check with your veterinarian to know what the best preventive measures are.
Watch What They Eat
Senior dogs may experience different problems when it comes to food. As a result, this may require a change in diet. Some dogs may suffer from dental problems or issues with digestion. Fortunately, there are food options designed specifically for older dogs to make it easier for them to digest. Some food products may even include supplements that could help with symptoms of aging.
If your dog has a kidney or heart disease it is best to stick to a prescribed diet. Check with your vet to know what you should give your dog. Diets lower in sodium are best for dogs who have heart disease while diets that regulate phosphorus, calcium, and other electrolyte levels are best for kidney diseases.
Track their Physical Activity
Remember that your dog’s physical condition is not the same as it used to be. Regular exercise is a great way to keep your dog mobile and it also helps keep his or her weight in check. Weight gain can be a common issue with older dogs so the exercise will help keep it in check. However, you need to make sure that you do not push your canine too far.
Make sure to tailor their physical activity specifically to their needs. If your dog is of a bigger breed, a walk around the block may help, but the same exercise imposed on chihuahuas might tire them out completely. If your dog is not used to exercise, start slowly and then gradually increase the intensity.
Again, check first with your veterinarian to know what kind of exercises you should do for your dog and make sure that it does not aggravate any existing or pre-existing illnesses that may occur.
As your dog ages, you may be required to make some adjustments in your home. Joint health is very critical to your dog and the older he or she gets, the more his or her joints may be deteriorated. Climbing stairs may be a bit more difficult for your canine, and so it might be best to keep food and water downstairs.
Outdoor time should be kept in moderation since they may not be able fend off any possible threats. Also, if your dog has a disability such as blindness, loss of hearing, or inability to walk, go to your vet to know what necessary accommodations you have to make for your dog.
It may not have been a big issue in the past, but dental issues may crop up as your dog gets older. Plaque and tartar build-up may cause health issues for your dog. Regular brushing with a specially formulated toothpaste will help reduce the probability of these issues. Also, check with your vet if they offer any thorough cleaning needs for your dog.
Know Your Dog’s Senior Age
Different-sized dogs age at varying rates, with larger dogs reaching seniority earlier than smaller dogs. While dogs reach seniority at different ages, most dogs are considered “senior” at 7 to 10 years old. Knowing your dog’s age will help you determine when you have to start making the necessary changes in your home.
If your dog already has an existing health condition, you may need to make some extra modifications in order to make him or her more comfortable.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, provide a dog bed with special bedding that is much softer than usual in order to make him or her more comfortable. Other extras like ramps and soft carpeting will greatly benefit your dog if he or she has been diagnosed with arthritis.
Being With Your Dog
Lastly, the best tip we can offer you is to actually be there for your dogs once they reach seniority. Aside from food, exercise, and other health modifications, making yourself available for your dog will have a significant effect on them.
Spend as much time as you can with your dog. Some soon-to-be dog owners even opt to adopt more senior dogs in favor of the companionship that it can give their pets.