Senior dogs have different care requirements than adult dogs and puppies. And, in order to provide the best possible senior dog care, you will have to do things a little bit differently in order to keep them healthy.
A balanced diet plays a big role in maintaining your dog’s health even when they age. Older dogs are at higher risk of developing obesity since they no longer have the same levels of energy as before. So it is important to find the best dog food that is specially designed for senior dogs in order to prevent weight gain.
These are often low in fat and have fewer calories that will complement the nutritional need of your dog.
And since older dogs often suffer from some condition, you can consult with your vet if your dog has a need for a special type of senior dog food for their condition.
Regular exercise will help your dog maintain their ideal weight and will also have a beneficial impact on their overall health. You can talk to your vet and ask for a recommended exercise program given the health and limitations of your dog.
Be patient, start slowly and build your dog’s stamina with regular walks and light jogs if they are able to run. As a dog ages, they have lower energy levels, so even though your pup was able to run for half an hour before, they might not be able to do it once they get older.
Regular vet checkups
Regular vet care is one of the most important things when it comes to caring for older dogs. As your dog ages, their immune system becomes weaker, which makes them more prone to all sorts of ailments.
That’s why most vets recommend taking an older dog for regular checkups once every six months. This will give your vet a chance to figure if anything is wrong at the beginning and provide the best possible treatment for your dog.
Maintain oral health
Most old dogs don’t get the proper dental care during their adult life, so it is not uncommon to see older dogs with a few missing teeth. Dental care is an important part of grooming and should be performed regularly from a young age.
To keep your dog’s teeth healthy, you need to wash them every day, and if your dog isn’t a fan, start giving them dental treats. Also, you should take your dog to the vet once a year in order to have their teeth professionally cleaned.
Vaccination and parasite protection
Your dog’s age doesn’t matter when it comes to flea, tick, and worm protection. So you should continue administering proper treatments just like before.
But when it comes to vaccines, older dogs don’t require them at the same intervals. Usually once every three years is enough, but you should consult your vet since they will know what is best for your dog’s individual needs.
As your dog ages, so do their coat and skin, a once luxurious and shiny coat can become dull looking and brittle. Seniors can also suffer from dry, flaky, and irritated skin that can become even worse if not cared for properly.
That means that you will have to brush your dog regularly, especially to avoid the development of mats and tangles. We also recommend that you use only natural shampoos that will nourish and heal irritated skin and coat.
Provide special accommodations
Older dogs often develop arthritis or other bone and joint problems that affect their mobility. Furthermore, a blind dog will also have trouble jumping on the bed or sofa at night.
In these cases, your dog can benefit from soft bedding and an easily accessible bed that won’t require jumping or climbing. Also, climbing up and down the stairs can prove to be difficult and your dog should avoid doing so.
If there is no way for your dog to avoid stairs, you can buy or build a doggy ramp that will make their movements that much easier. Another solution is to simply install doggy proof gates and restrict their access to the stairs.
That will mean that you will have to move your dog’s bed, food and water bowls downstairs if possible. Also, it is a good idea to place carpets and rugs around the house to help an arthritic dog gain their footing and ease their movements a little bit.
Some older dogs can go completely blind, so you’ll have to make sure that they are able to navigate through the house. That means that you shouldn’t move furniture because this will confuse your dog and make them bump into things unnecessarily.
Spend time with your pup
Aging is a completely normal thing, but it is very difficult and painful to witness all the changes that aging may bring your beloved dog. The best thing you can do is to live in the moment and cherish all the memories and every day spent with your pooch.
A geriatric dog can easily become anxious if they don’t sense their owner by their side, and that makes them terrified. So try to spend as much time as you can with your pup.
Even though your dog might not be able to see or hear you, they still need your presence and attention in order to stay emotionally and mentally healthy. So instead of dwelling on your dog’s age, take them for a walk, play with them, and give them treats.
Treat your dog like your best friend, deserving of your love and attention every single day.