Your buddy is no longer a youngster, and it shows. They aren’t as active as they once were, and they may also be experiencing some joint pain. Your pup is now a senior, and you need to accept this and adapt to their needs.
As they age, dogs develop the same conditions as us: vision problems, diabetes, heart disease, and so on. Because of these, you can easily notice some behavioral changes too. Maybe your friend has another sleep cycle now, or perhaps they feel more anxious or bark more. These changes are normal, and we should embrace them.
Hopefully, with the help of preventive veterinarian medicine, our pups will live longer and have more time by our side. What you can do now is learn everything you can about how to improve the life of a senior dog. Read on and discover everything you can do best for the well-being of your pup!
1. Keep them active
Even if your dog is older now, that doesn’t mean they can no longer run or play. Physical activity is extremely important, and you should never forget about this aspect. Long walks can actually improve the health of your dog’s joints.
It is true that the level of energy has changed, and maybe they can no longer run as fast as they used to or walk long distances, but what you can do is adapt the level of activity in order to be more suitable for the senior dog.
If, in the past, you and your buddy used to run, now you can just go out for a stroll. Also, in order to keep things interesting, mix them up a little bit. Let’s say that today you go for a swim. Tomorrow, bring a new toy and go to the dog park. Next week, go for a walk in another neighborhood.
Remember that muscles support the joints. Healthy muscles mean healthy joints. Staying in motion is incredibly beneficial for your pup, but never overdo it. Remember this, and everything should be alright.
2. Take extra care of their teeth
Your dog’s teeth are extremely important because if they are healthy, your pup will be able to eat properly and stay healthy longer. Also, tooth infections are dangerous since they can lead to kidney and heart disease.
As they age, your dog’s teeth get more sensitive, which increases the risk of infection. And that’s the reason why you should pay more attention to the oral hygiene of your buddy when they get older. You don’t want your pup to suffer because of loose teeth and infections.
The first step is to purchase dog toothpaste. These toothpastes are different from the ones we use, and they are specially designed for your pet. They don’t contain chemicals that can be harmful to them. Never use human-designed toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.
Another thing you should do to reduce the amount of bacteria in your dog’s mouth is to use dental drops. The most essential practice, however, is to take your dog to the local vet for a thorough teeth cleaning.
3. Help them have a healthy diet
The food you provide for your dog is a very important factor that can affect their health and life. After all, you are what you eat, isn’t that true? The same principle applies to your pet. A balanced diet and proper nutrition are maybe one of the most affectionate options to show them your love.
Good nutrition means a long and healthy life, and we are sure you want that for your pup. Bad food can lead to inflammation and other health problems, such as obesity and diabetes. If you want to offer proper diet suitable for a senior dog, just follow the next tips.
Always choose foods that are rich in omega-3s. Egg yolks, fish, and fish oil are very healthy, and they have a balanced amount of omega-3. You can add them to your pup’s kibble or wet food, and that should be more than enough. This is a good choice of fish oil if you plan to buy some for your dog.
This is a good salmon oil that you can try.
4. Give them extra grooming sessions
As your dog ages, they will care less and less about grooming and personal hygiene. Actually, it’s not that they don’t care about it, but they might feel pain in their joints or bones, making this task a lot more difficult for them.
Your pup will no longer have the same mobility, and because of this, he might have a hard time trying to groom himself. One way to help him is to book grooming sessions with a professional. These people will know better what to do and how to work with an older dog.
The first, and perhaps most critical, step is to trim the hair around the potty area. Always check this area; it is recommended to check daily and see if it is irritated, dry, or not clean. If needed, clean it properly. Remember that this is particularly significant for dogs who have incontinence.
Next, brush your pup daily in order to keep the hair in good shape. Also, brushing helps keep the coat oils from spreading.
5. Keep in mind the physical limitations
Your senior dog is no longer in the same physical shape they used to be when they were younger. As we said before, they might suffer from joint pain and have less mobility. These, together with other conditions, might make everyday tasks seem like a burden for your buddy. Besides being a burden, these tasks can also become a real danger to them and can lead to injuries.
Now, here are a few suggestions to assist you keep your dog safe around the house:
- slippery floors are a major threat for pups that have mobility issues. As a result, our experts say that you utilize mat runners in places that you know are prone to getting slippery;
- don’t move furniture around the house or re-arrange it because your old dog might have vision issues. They might not see as well as they used to, and this can make learning new paths a difficult task;
- provide them with a dog ramp or dog step, especially if they have mobility issues. This way, it’ll be simpler for them to go to their preferred location, such as if they want to stay in bed but are unable to jump in.
6. Watch your dog more carefully
The American Animal Hospital Association advises you to take your senior dog to a regular checkup every 6 months. If you can detect a health issue in an old dog early, this can save their life.
These vet visits will help you make sure that your buddy is in good shape and that they are not suffering from any hidden conditions. The doctor will evaluate their heart, eyesight, and hearing, and also check for any concerning lumps.
Also, when you let your old dog out to roam around or play, it is better to not leave them alone. Since they have aged, they might have hearing problems or eyesight issues. If you let your dog alone outside, these conditions can pose a real danger because your dog is not fully aware of what is going on around them. If you are not careful with your pup, they can suffer accidents and injuries.
You should also read: Want a Friend for Your Dog? These 8 Pets Will Become Best Friends With Your Pup