Senior Pets: How To Care For An Aging Dog
"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really." - Agnes Sligh Turnbull
Senior Dog Health Tips: All About Care
Like humans, all dogs go through the natural process of aging, and need special care to live their lives to the fullest. As the American Veterinary Medical Association points out, Pets Are Living Longer Than Ever Before. Keeping your dog healthy is an important factor in helping your older dog enjoy life in his later years.
Dogs may suffer from dementia or incontinence as they age, and it is important to help your pet navigate through these issues. Also, behavior issues may pop up with elderly dogs that were not present during their younger years. Always consult with your veterinarian and Choose A Good Dog Trainer to identify issues correctly and provide gentle help to your dog.
Above: Low to the ground Orthopedic Dog Beds, like this one from Friends Furever are perfect for older dogs.
Keeping an eye out for changes in energy level, appetite and of course, weight is a great first step. Check your senior dog for lumps and unusual skin conditions regularly. The Senior Dogs Project also offers some helpful guidelines to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your aging pet:
- Dogs, like people, need regular exercise. Give your senior dog adequate exercise, but adjust it as your pet’s abilities dictate.
- Be informed about the conditions common to older dogs and be alert to any symptoms. Keep your vet informed and discuss available treatment options.
- Feed your older dog the Best Dog Food you can afford; two small meals daily, rather than one large one, is a better option.
- Keep your dog’s weight under control. Healthy Dog Treats are always a great choice over cheaper, lower quality options. Obesity will create health problems and result in shortening your pet’s life.
- Keep an eye out for a lack of appetite. If your pet suffers from a decreasing appetite, consult with your veterinarian.
- Dietary supplements, such as Glucosamine/Chondroitin, are often helpful in counteracting symptoms of arthritis. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication.
- Orthopedic Dog Beds can provide support for aging pets.
- Your dog’s dental health is also important to his overall health. Brush teeth daily and have his teeth professionally cleaned when advised by your veterinarian. Consider having your dog vaccinated only once every three years, as currently advised by the major veterinary associations.
- Control fleas and ticks. Keep your dog and his environment scrupulously clean.
Above: With the guidance of your vet, dog supplements can be a great help. Doggie Dailies can provide relief for senior pets and have over 5,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
Today it’s not uncommon, with the right care, for dogs to live to 14 or 15. As they age, you should keep an eye out for canine arthritis. Our article Dog Arthritis: A Pain In The Joint has some tips on what to look out for. Additionally, if your pet starts acting unusually, you may want to investigate whether he or she may have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
Using recognized guidelines to determine when your dog may qualify as a senior will help you to understand changes in behavior and to anticipate any changes in health status. Our related article Health Care Tips For Your Senior Dog has some great advice on what extra steps you can take to help your pet transition into the golden years. By being informed, you will be better able to identify and approach health problems at an early stage, when they may be more easily treated.