As your dog ages, there are a few changing needs to consider. To understand more, here are 6 tips to help you care for your senior dog.
Keep Their Weight In Check
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is even more important as they age. It can be a cause for concern if an animal begins losing weight rapidly or begins to eat less. On the other hand, being overweight can put unnecessary extra stress on joints, bones, and internal organs and should also be avoided. As with humans, a dog’s metabolism can slow as they age, so you may need to adjust their food accordingly.
Offer Quality Food
Speaking of food, make sure that you are feeding your dog the best food you can afford to. Remember, nutrition plays a large role in overall health. There are many brands to choose from and even more formulations, so you will probably need to do a little research to choose a food for your dog’s needs.
Keep Brushing Their Teeth
Hopefully, you’ve been routinely caring for your dog’s teeth since they were a puppy. If not, it’s not too late to start. Keeping canine teeth clean can be critical to their health since infections and bacteria can enter the bloodstream through broken, damaged, or decayed teeth. Once in the bloodstream, certain illnesses can be deadly. Develop a nightly brushing schedule and ask your veterinarian about more in-depth cleanings. Sometimes dogs may be too old and in too poor health to do this type of deep cleaning due to the anesthesia used, but it is worth it to ask.
Make Sure They Stay Active
This means both body and mind. Regular walks are a great way to keep muscles strong and being out in the world with smells and the sights stimulates their brains. Even though they might now play like they did when they were a puppy, still engage them similarly to keep their mind sharp with trips to the dog park, squeaky toys, food puzzles, and fetch, etc.
Keep Regular Vet Checkups
Checking in at least once a year will help you and your veterinarian be aware of changes before they become problems. Your veterinarian may also suggest supplements or medications to reduce the effects of again in your pet. Watch for signs they should see a vet sooner. Lumps, limping, changes in mood, eating and sleeping habits are all red flags that require extra care.
You may need to be more patient with an aging dog as they may not have as quick a reaction time to commands or they may even be developing vision or hearing problems. Some owners teach hand signals for deaf or hard of hearing pets. Your dog may need special orthopedic bedding to relieve joint pressure or some need to sleep on bedding that can be easily washed if needed due to incontinence issues. Dog ramps are a great way to accommodate a pet that has difficulty going up and down stairs. The best way to think about caring for an elderly pet is that they would like to have the same great care they have had their entire life, but know that the type of care may be a little different now.
At Cascade Kennels we call the senior stage the Golden Age. Anytime your Golden Age pet boards with us, we request an update on their condition so that we can provide them customized care if needed.