Having a dog in your life can completely change your lifestyle, routine, and boost your outlook on the world. Once you have a dog, it might seem strange even to imagine never having one in your life. However, there will come a time when your little puppy is no longer that small, mischievous, and energized furry friend.
Instead of getting excited and bouncing out the front door for a walk, older dogs will probably prefer to take a nap than head outdoors. While seeing your dog enter old age can be a sad and challenging time, there are several things that you can do to keep older dogs healthy and active so that you can both continue to benefit from each other in the same way as you always have.
Watch their weight
Keep your dog from becoming overweight because this can place added stress onto their heart, lungs, and other vital organs and make them more susceptible to health conditions like heart disease. Given that your dog won’t be as active as he was when he was much younger, it’s expected that your dog will put on weight if you continue to feed him the same amount and the same food as when he was running around more.
As your dog becomes less energetic, you might want to consider purchasing food designed for senior dogs. Tailored senior dog food contains the correct vitamins and nutrients to ensure that your dog can keep healthy as their body ages. Still, it will also contain less fat than other pet food — which is essential for monitoring your dog’s weight.
Look out for dog food containing ingredients like fish, egg yolks, probiotics, and leafy greens. If you’re struggling to maintain or help your dog lose weight, seek out advice from your vet who may be able to suggest a diet plan for your dog to follow.
Keep them busy
While it’s necessary to let your dog rest if they’ve had a busy day, you should encourage them to go out for daily walks, play with them in the garden, and reward them for coming to you when you call them.
Ensure that you keep up any training and tricks that you’ve taught them when they’re younger — just because they’re older doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have to sit down or go to their bed when you ask them to!
Keeping them going and taking them outside gives them something to look forward to and ensure that they don’t deteriorate. It also helps you know when something is seriously wrong with your dog, and when you need to take a trip to the vet if your dog refuses to get up and out of his bed.
Look after their bodies
As older dogs are particularly prone to muscle, bone, and joint problems, you must intervene and do what you can to mitigate their health conditions with the simple treatments that we have suggested. Massaging your dog daily can help to ease any muscle pain and help muscles to function normally. Stretching out your dog’s legs and paws gently can relieve stress on your dog’s joints.
If you know that your dog is suffering from weak joints, or has arthritis, consider dog joint supplements from YuMOVE. They have experience in veterinary practice and are experts on pet nutrition, which means that their dog joint supplements are effective treatments to help ease joint pain in animals to get them functioning normally again. Inside each tasty supplement is green-lipped mussels that contain Omega-3 fatty acids to soothe stiff joints, N-Acetyl-D-glucosamine to help build cartilage in the connective tissue of joints, and hyaluronic acid to lubricate the joints which help prevent stiffness. As well as joint supplements, consider dusting your dog’s food bowl with turmeric, which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects in both humans and animals. However, be aware that this is not an immediate solution, and it will only become an effective treatment over a period of time.
If your dog is over the age of eight years old, they’re considered senior pets. They are more susceptible to developing health conditions that you won’t necessarily notice until it is too late.
By taking them to the vets every six months, you can have peace of mind that they are healthy inside and out. You can ask your vet to check their heart, hearing, and eyesight, as well as check for any lumps or bumps that may have recently developed. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop or signs to prompt you to take your older dogs to the vet – having regular check-ups means you can spot problems earlier and catch them before they escalate.
If you notice a sudden change or problem with your dog, react quickly, and take them to the vet as soon as possible. While a younger dog might quickly recover from a cold or cough, an older dog won’t have the same capacity. Getting to the vet as soon as possible to cat health conditions or illnesses are picked up quickly — and hopefully resolved!
Check their teeth
As dogs age, their teeth are more prone to infections, and they are more sensitive, which can be painful for your pet.
Not only can a bad set of teeth mean that your dog’s breath is smelly, but infected teeth can lead to heart disease and kidney problems.
Looking after your dog’s teeth couldn’t be easier; all you need to do is routinely brush their teeth with dog toothpaste each day. If brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t viable or finding it too uncomfortable, you can use dental drops instead. They will clean the mouth to get rid of any bacteria — just like brushing their teeth — but it means you don’t have to risk putting your fingers into your dog’s mouth, which can be painful if they’re particularly fussy.
There are many different chewy toys and treats available, which will encourage your dog to maintain their teeth hygiene and get rid of any dirt or leftover food that may be lingering around in their mouth.
Keep older dogs healthy
Looking after an elderly dog can seem daunting, and the idea of having responsibility for a potentially frail and tired animal can be overwhelming.
However, living with your older dog doesn’t have to change your relationship together. They are still the same dog inside, but they might have additional baggage or needs that they didn’t have when they were younger.
Just as you might have relied on your dog for emotional support in the past, they will depend on you more in the future for their physical health — which might require you to be much more observant and responsive than you might have been before.
Seeing your dog age and grow from a puppy to a senior dog can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, as well as fill you with a sense of pride. Take steps now to keep older dogs healthy so you can continue to enjoy a long time together.