Most people will agree dogs are more than family!!! As your beloved pooch starts to age there are so many ways you can keep them in tip-top condition. Just as modern medicine has extended the lives of people, with new and innovative treatments and preventive care; it can also extend the lives of our dogs. If you want your older dog to have a long and happy life, consider incorporating these top tips for senior dog care.
Monitoring you Dog
Keep a mindful check of your dog’s ears, eyes nose, and mouth and monitor any changes. Weight is an important indication of your dog’s health; look out for weight gain or loss as early signs of changes to your dog’s health. Twice yearly check-ups with your vet are an excellent way of keeping track of your dog’s weight and overall health.
Dental Hygiene is important as your dog ages. Regular brushing can prevent painful dental disease and decay. If your dog doesn’t enjoy having his/her teeth brushed, consider dental treats and toys designed for teeth and gums.
Your dog may be slowing down, but they still need some form of gentle exercise like short walks or even pottering around in the garden. Gentle exercise is definitely beneficial and can help with weight gain and also keep joints supple. Marathon running is probably not on their to-do list anymore, however, they still need plenty of mental stimulation followed by the occasional siesta. Continue playtime sessions with your dog just do this at a gentler pace.
Older dogs can sometimes have food issues, including problems chewing, lack of appetite, obesity and digestive upset. Choosing a diet that specifically caters to them is a great way of looking after senior dogs. Dietary changes may include adding more fibre to aid with digestion or decreasing carbohydrates to maintain optimal weight. Fats and oils need to be slightly lower to avoid excessive weight gain, but they are still essential in the right forms to maintain the health of skin and coat, brain and joints. Supplements such as fish oil or glucosamine can be added to alleviate joint pain and skin condition.
A comfortable bed in a quiet, cosy corner free from any draughts is a must for a senior dog. As dog’s age, they find it harder to cope with changes in weather temperatures. They may need more help to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. Dogs that have never worn a coat may now need one to keep them warm whilst outside. Heated beds can soothe achy joints, particularly if you live in a colder climate.
Make Changes to Your Home
- You may need to consider a ramp for dogs that struggle with stairs or getting into the car.
- Choose non-slip surfaces to prevent falls and help your older pet maintain traction when they are rising.
- Keep food and water in areas they can easily reach, especially if they are becoming vision-impaired.
Remember to seek the advice of your vet about any health concerns you may have about looking after your beloved dog.