How to take care of an aging pet?
As you canine ages, it is your responsibility as an owner to take steps to keep a dog healthy and happy. A lot of needs, even basic ones, of aging dogs start changing.
Older dogs need less exercising due to a lower level of energy, require a completely different diet and more rest.
This article is a useful guidance with recommendations that will help you to make golden years of your canine as happy and bright as possible.
What are the signs of aging?
By becoming older most dogs have less and less energy, which has a significant impact on their digestive system and weight.
Due to the lack of energy, the tendency to deposit fat starts to increase, and this leads to weight gain. Also, digestive changes lead to difficulties with swallowing and make a dog’s mouth drier.
You might also notice that the coat of your pet is not shiny anymore and the skin is not as elastic as it was years ago. Some dogs also start getting grey hair that is especially noticeable on black dogs.
Aging also has an impact on memory and hearing: aging pooches experience difficulties with remembering things and lose their ability to hear very well.
You might also notice that sleeping habits of your dog start changing too. Older dogs have trouble sleeping and become restless at night.
How to help your dogs to remain health and active as long as possible?
Even when you notice the above mentioned signs of aging in your dog, it does not mean that a normal life of your canine is over.
Instead, it is just a new chapter in her life, and it is your responsibility to make this chapter as good and comfortable as possible.
Here are some recommendations on how to improve the quality of life of your senior pet and prolong her life.
· Visit your vet at least twice a year
Regular visits to the veterinarian for an older dog are very important because it helps to prevent many diseases.
It is also very important to understand that the immune system of senior dogs are much weaker, which makes the health of such pets very fragile.
During such regular checkup visits, the doctor will ask you questions about the dog’s behavior and habits, and check her body for signs of pain, tumors, and arthritis.
The vet will also check the dog’s hearing, eyes and mouth, as well as listen to the canine’s lungs and heart.
He might also perform additional laboratory tests, especially if a dog already has health issues, and give you recommendations on dog’s diet.
· Do not stop training
Even though your dog is not a puppy anymore and has much less energy, there is no reason to stop her training.
Training for dogs is a learning activity that helps to work out not only their bodies but also their mind.
Physical capacities of senior dogs are limited, which means that training for aging canines should be more focused on sharpening their mind and improving memory.
Therefore, you should choose toys and exercises contributing to mental stimulation.
For example, you can hide things around the house and ask your dog to find them, which will help her to train their sense of smell and vision.
· Give your dog the right amount of food
Puppies eat a lot due to their high activity level: by constantly running, playing and growing, they burn calories very fast.
However, it is not the case for aging dogs. Since older dogs often become overweight, it is very important to correct the diet of your aging canine and give the right amount of food.
The best way to correct the diet of your dog is to talk to your vet.
· Add supplements to your dog’s diet
Supplements are very important for aging dogs because they help them to remain active, strengthen the immune system and keep joints healthy.
Nowadays there are many different supplements for canines available on the market, and here are a few of them that are especially for dogs’ body, brain and joints:
- Omega 3-s. Omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful for senior dogs with joint problems due to their anti-inflammatory effects. They reduce pay caused by arthritis and improve cognition.
- Probiotics. They are indispensable for a strong immune system and healthy digestion.
- Chondroitin and Glucosamine. If your dog suffers from osteoarthritis, these two supplements are perfect due to their capacity to protect joint cartilage.
· Provide your dog with enough daily exercises
Physical activity helps a dog to stay healthy active and not to gain weight. Therefore, you need to make sure that you walk with your senior companion every day.
However, walks should not be too long or intense. Remember: walking is for your pooch, not for you.
So let your dog do what she wants and needs to do during walks: if she wants to slow down or stop and sniff something for a couple minutes, let her do this.
Make sure that you do not force your canine to keep up with you. Most dogs will do this through exhaustion and pain, but the consequences of such walk might be very dire.
· Give your dog all your love and attention
Our pooches need us, especially those who are getting older. If you do not spend enough time with your dog, she starts feeling lonely and anxious.
The level of stress starts increasing by having a negative impact on the dog’s overall health. It is especially dangerous for aging dogs, whose health is already weak.
If you are too busy or the dog is not able to walk at all, there are still many things that you can do together. Just make sure that your senior dog knows that you are still her companion and best friend.
It might be really tough and sad to realize that your dog is getting older and there is not much time left to spend together.
However, we hope that our recommendations will help your dog to stay active and healthy as long as possible and live the happiest golden years of her life.