Five Tips for Loving Your Senior Pooch

Dog covered with a blanket

Your Senior Dog Can Stay Happy And Healthy!

It seems like only yesterday that you brought a new puppy or young dog into your home. These days were filled with enjoyable activities such as playing and running around, long walks together, hiking, and a variety of other outings. However, as he ages, your dog becomes slower and stops running to you like he used to.

You must understand how to care for your dog in order for it to enjoy its golden years. Although older dogs have their share of health issues, you can ensure that your dog lives a long and happy life if you know what to do.

The effects of aging will begin to manifest depending on the breed of your dog. In comparison to medium and large dog breeds, little dog breeds have a lifespan of 15 to 16 years. Unfortunately, larger dog breeds, such as the Mastiff, only live 7-8 years because they mature into adults at the age of two, as opposed to smaller dog breeds, which mature into adults at the age of one. However, once your dog reaches the age of 7, you should begin treating them as seniors.

Here are 5 tips to help your aging dog!

1. Routine health examinations

Prioritize your senior dog's vet visits. With routine medical care from your local veterinarian, you'll be able to identify and treat any new illnesses. These checkups will also help you manage any chronic illnesses and keep an eye on any current illnesses to stop their progression.

2. Diet

Your older dog now has a variety of nutritional needs. He doesn't get as much play and activity now that he's older because he's slower. As a result, you should keep an eye on your senior dog's weight. Many dog food manufacturers have created food for your elderly dog that contains fewer calories, more fiber, and higher quality proteins.

If your senior dog has medical issues, your vet can help you plan a proper diet for his specific condition.

3. Focus on joint health

The aging process puts a strain on the connective tissue that protects your senior dog's joints. You must reduce joint stress in order to keep your dog's joints healthy. Give him opportunities to exercise like he would on his daily walks to prevent obesity and maintain his leanness, and feed him in moderation with age-appropriate dog food.

Although deteriorating joint health is an unavoidable part of aging, you can protect your dog. If you notice that your dog is suffering from joint pain, talk to your veterinarian about medication and other options for making him feel better. Ramps may be required for your dog to gain access to higher places, such as your car or home. An orthopedic bed may be required to aid in the treatment of these aching joints.

4. Monitor his general health

No one knows your dog better than you as its owner and companion. Monitor him regularly for any changes in his overall wellness.

Look out for signs and symptoms such as the following:

  • Accidental defecation in the house
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Cough
  • General weakness
  • Urination that is not normal
  • Lack of appetite and reduced water 
  • Limping
  • Aggression or other significant behavior change
  • Barking for no reason
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • No reaction to regular voice commands
  • Getting lost in places he's used to

Take your elderly dog to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. When your dog exhibits unusual behavior, you are the only person who can speak for it.

5. Embrace the change

Given the numerous myths surrounding aging, it's understandable that most people would prefer to avoid it. Don't let such negativity change your opinion of your old dog. Continue to love and care for it. Keep it warm and dry indoors. Keep it away from anything that could frighten or upset it. Recognize its limitations and adjust to its new lifestyle.

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