You probably still see your dog as the puppy they once were when they were younger. You remember how they used to run and play for hours on end and how they would get the “zoomies” that caused them to run in hysterical circles.
However, when your dog is getting up in years and has started to sport a gray muzzle, it’s time to re-evaluate how to take care of them. You’ll need to adjust to what they need in order to make their life as easy and pain-free as possible. Check out the following tips for taking care of your aging dog.
Watch what they eat
Older dogs often develop food issues, such as digestive problems, lack of appetite, and obesity. Obesity is a common concern for older dogs since many do not have the energy levels they had before. Moreover, their digestive system is also “slowing down.” Some dogs may also have trouble chewing.
Talk to your vet about the type of diet your ageing dog should be on. There are brands on the market that are formulated for the needs of senior dogs, often low in fat and high in protein. And remember, your dog may beg for table scraps, but people food can cause excessive weight gain and digestive issues. Choose dog treats that are high in fiber instead when you want your dog to have something special.
Give them dog joint supplements
Joint health-related supplements are one of the most sought-after dog supplements on the market. Older dogs, as well as dogs who have joint disorders, will benefit from a quality joint supplement. While there are many supplements available for senior dogs, look for a brand that contains Chondroitin and Glucosamine.
Chondroitin helps to support the thickness and elasticity of joint cartilage while Glucosamine supports joint repair. Another popular ingredient in dog joint supplements is known as MSM, or methyl sulphonyl methane. This ingredient acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Both can help a senior dog suffering from joint pain.
It can be daunting to find high-grade supplements for dogs but with websites like The Pampered Pup, they answer the FAQs about dog joint supplements and can give you lowdown reviews of these products available today.
Extra care for they teeth
Dental health is crucial throughout the life of your dog but they are more prone to infection as they age. You will need to adjust a lot of things including his diet. Instead of the usual hard grains you will need to switch up to something softer because they are likely to have loose teeth and suffer from a painful gum disease.
Other than regular brushing their teeth, you may need to have them professionally cleaned from time to time. If your dog isn’t a fan of brushing his teeth, start giving him dental treats and toys instead.
Take them in for regular check-ups
Even if your senior dog seems to be fine, it is important that they see your vet on a regular basis. When your dog begins to age, they can become prone to many ailments that you may not even notice right away. Their immune system becomes weaker, and some breeds have predispositions when it comes to certain issues.
These include cancer, diabetes, hip dysplasia, obesity, and arthritis. Bringing your senior dog in every six months for a check-up will help your vet catch problems early on. Your vet will also check your dog’s teeth to make sure there are no issues. You can also have them give your pet a professional teeth cleaning as recommended, even when they are older.
Provide special accommodations
Do you remember when you had to puppy-proof your home from your rambunctious and sometimes naughty pup? Well, now is the time to go over your home again to give your older dog a safe place to live. You may need to provide some special accommodations to make life easier for them now that they have a harder time getting around.
A dog ramp can make it easier for an ageing dog to get on and off your bed or couch. A comfortable orthopedic dog bed will provide them with a comfortable place to rest, especially if your dog has arthritis. A heated bed will be even better, especially if your home tends to be on the chilly side. You should also make sure that their water and food dish is easily accessible to them at all times.
Offer regular exercise sessions
A lot of dog owners think that their senior dogs don’t need or want to exercise when they get older. While it may be true that your ageing dog is a bit more reluctant to get moving, it is still very important that they get regular exercise. Start slow and be patient with your older dog.
They won’t have the same energy levels they had as a puppy, so you shouldn’t expect them to be able to keep up with you like they once did. If you are unsure how much exercise they should be getting at their age, ask your vet for an exercise regimen. You can also provide your senior stimulating puzzles to help keep their mind sharp, such as food and treat puzzles.
Pay attention to possible symptoms of an illness
This might sound scary, but you have to pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If there is a sudden change in the way they usually act, it might be a red flag for something serious. So you have to be observant for any possible symptoms of an illness or disease. You may want to keep a journal so you can keep track of the essential changes in his behavior, appetite, weight and mood.
Early detection of a health problem helps to prevent a minor health issue from escalating into something more serious. Common health problems that you need to lookout for are hearing and vision loss, obesity, osteoarthritis, digestive, heart, and kidney problems.
Your dog’s health and well-being is important, even as they slip into their senior years. By following these tips, your dog should live a long and happy life!