How to care for senior dogs. (Treats, training, playtime and love)
The fact that senior dogs have different care requirements than those of a younger dog is not a surprise to anyone. Dogs slow down with age and as the body slows down, it uses less energy and many of their basic needs, from diet to exercise, will begin to change. Some senior dogs may want to do less exercise and start to gain weight. Some senior dogs become friendlier, and want to spend more time with their owners, while others become more introverted. Some also become more anxious because they are starting to lose their vision or can’t hear the way they used to and are now slower at getting away from danger. Some changes in personality can also be a sign of pain or illness, so if you are in doubt, it’s better to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
It is very important to recognize the signs of aging and take several measures to ensure that your dog’s quality of life doesn’t change. Dogs are known to be really good at hiding their health problems. As a pet owner, it is our responsibility to keep an eye on our senior dog to ensure that we are adjusting their routine to match the changes in their body and immune system.
Here are some guides that will help you understand what it takes to make sure your senior dog is happy and healthy.
Schedule regular check ups with your veterinarian
Many things can happen between vet visits. It is advisable to schedule regular visits with your veterinarian at least every six months to be examined even if your senior dog appears healthy, as many diseases and health issues are hidden and not apparent. Health issues and diseases can also be treated if caught early enough. This is also a good time to talk to your veterinarian regarding your dog’s diet and exercise routine.
Regular dental care
Brushing your dog’s teeth daily can help keep your dog’s teeth and mouth healthy. If you cannot brush, considering making an appointment with your veterinarian for teeth cleaning. You can also give dental dog treats and toys that can help keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Make sure your senior dog is at his ideal weight
Extra pounds can cause your senior dog more stress on their body, including joints and internal organs. Overweight dogs have a higher risk of getting diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin disease and even cancer. To ensure that all nutrient needs are met while still allowing for weight loss, overweight dogs must be fed carefully. Special diets that are lower in calories as well as those that are high in L-carnitine are available for overweight dogs. Talk with your veterinarian about a weight loss and exercise plan if you feel your dog needs to shed a few pounds.
Consider a special and healthy diet for your senior dog
Feed your dog a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet. Choose a diet that is appropriate for your dog’s age, lifestyle and situation. If your senior dog has a heart or kidney disease, talk to your veterinarian and consider a special diets that are lower in sodium for dogs with heart disease or diets which help control phosphorus, calcium and other electrolyte levels for dogs with kidney disease. Fortifying your senior dog’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA have been shown also to be useful for dogs with mobility issues due to arthritis or other joint diseases. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are also beneficial for senior dogs.
Get enough exercise for your senior dog
Just because your dog is slowing down doesn’t mean he should just spend his days curled up on the couch. Exercise can help keep your dog lean, maintain healthy joints and muscles, and will keep your senior dog feeling good.
Toys and dog treats.
Be sure to provide plenty of toys and dog treats to keep your senior dog occupied. Quality dog treats and food puzzles are not only useful for entertainment but for weight loss purposes as well.
Be kind and patient
I’m sure you’re kind and patient with your dog, but you are also human and sometimes stress of caring for an ailing dog can come with frustration. Keep your voice calm and quiet, and never shout to your senior dog. It is not their fault.
Our dogs need our care and attention even more as they age, it is our responsibility to monitor their health and take measures to keep them as healthy and happy as possible in their senior years.