Posted by SmarchPawz on March 11, 2020
With appropriate care most dogs live complete and happy lives. Unfortunately, an adored pet never seems to live long enough. Each breed has different life spans. While taking care of your aging dog, you need to adapt his environment for his comfort. As dogs get older, they develop aches, joint pain, generalized weakness and an almost definite increase in medical problems. Here are 7 tips and things to look out for when your dog is living it up in the golden years.
1) Adjust Surroundings to Minimize Discomfort
Protect him from excessive heat and cold. Older dogs are unable to regulate body temperature as younger dogs do. So its important to have a nice set if blankets around for when it get cold, or a nice cool fan, or better yet pool for when it gets too warm.
2) Try to Give Your Dog Regular Exercise
Make sure your dog’s health matches his exercise routine. If your dog exhibits signs of heavy panting or opposes exercise, you need to change his routine. Like humans, dogs need to ease into activities requiring physical exertion. One easy way is to simply take your dog out for walks. However, its important to avoid long walks if your dog seems to tire easily. Instead, try going on multiple shorter walks throughout the day, three or four blocks a couple of time a day will help get that blood flowing like when they were pups!
3) Adapt Diet and Feeding Schedule
Like us humans, as dogs age they typically become less active therefore require fewer calories. If you do notice your dog is gaining weight, its always a good idea to consult a veterinarian who will be able to help prescribe a specific diet or recommend dog food varieties better suited for older dogs. Consider purchasing food designed specifically for senior dogs, these will typically contain fewer calories, some might even add more omega-3 rich ingredients to help boost and/or maintain healthy brain function.
4) Older dogs Can Experience Hearing Loss
Its very important to keep this in mind as your dog ages. Does your dog typically swiftly stand at attention and/or get excited with the sound of your voice? However, lately not so much? If so, its very possible your dog is experiencing some hearing loss. Try to pinpoint which ear is losing hearing by lightly snapping your fingers next to each ear one at a time. Pay attention to your dog’s reaction to both snaps. if your dog clearly reacts with one ear, however barely reacts or looks confused with the other ear, its very likely that your dog is losing part of their hearing. Make sure to mention this to your vet on the next visit.
If you notice your dog is bumping into things and you notice they are relying more on their other senses to navigate, take a look into your dog’s eyes and look for any pigmentation or spots that were not there before.
5) Senior Dogs Require Special Dental Care
They are more likely to develop gum problems and diseases. Complete dental cleaning should be performed by your vet every six months which does require anesthesia. At the same time, it’s a good idea to make sure complete bloodwork is performed. However these visits to the vet can become fairly expensive, consider testing out some alternatives for a few months and see if you get any results. For example, some teeth cleaning treats, or try brushing your dog’s teeth gently with a soft bristle toothbrush.
6) Take Into Consideration Age in Human Years
If your dog is 13 years old for example, you should expect them to show signs of aging ailments as a 75 year old human would! Always take a step back to remember how old your dog can really feel.
7) Continue With Bi-Annual Vet Exams
Senior dogs need extra care, like us, they need help with their aging problems. Keep visiting the vet on a regular basis to make sure you’re always well aware of any new ailments which may arise.
Following these tips can help improve your dog’s quality of life! Keep those memories alive!