Everyone who has ever been a pet-parent, knows that pets soon become more than just an outsider. They become a part of the family like a sibling or even a child, and so pet-parents also put in a lot of effort when it comes to taking care of their dogs. Unfortunately, as much as we would love our furry friends to be by our side for long life, watching them age rapidly is something we can’t avoid. However, providing our pets with a comfortable and happy life is definitely something we can be mindful of, especially as they grow older and reach their seniormost years, by making subtle changes in their day-to-day routine related to food, hygiene, and exercise.
So, here are a few tips and helpful points to help your senior dogs be comfortable and happy.
1. Do I need to change my dog’s diet according to his age?
As dogs grow older, their nutritional requirements also change. Their body starts to age which causes them to suffer from various age-related illnesses. The correct nutrition helps to improve and maintain their overall health and also prevent any diseases as well. As dogs grow older they become less energetic which reduces their overall physical activity and that could result in obesity and other hip problems. So finding the right balanced food for your dog is the most crucial part to take care of their health. Senior dog food generally contains lower calories, and is high in fiber, and includes an adequate amount of protein and fat. Low calories would help prevent obesity while a high fiber diet would help to improve digestive issues. However, before changing your dog’s diet it is best to consult a vet regarding the same.
2. My dog tends to get tired easily. How much exercise should I be providing him?
Just like humans, as dogs grow older their joints and bones also stop functioning smoothly. And so, giving your dog a good amount of physical as well as mental exercise will help to keep them healthy and keep their weight in check. This also keeps their mind engaged and active. Simple and regular exercise helps to keep their joints, ligaments and bones movin’ and in shape! A small walk outdoors will also help to decrease anxiety and improve their mood as well. Due to lower energy levels, senior dogs have reduced activity levels which cause them to be over-weight. This could result in various other diseases and heart conditions. Even a little fetch time at home could help in keeping them active throughout the day.
3. How can I keep a check on his health?
It’s a no brainer that as dogs grow older, their immune system also weakens. He may not have the same capacity to fight off diseases as compared to a younger dog. And so, regular health check-ups are vital to his seniority. Health issues like losing sight, deafness, weight issues, and so on can affect your dog due to aging. And the sooner your dog receives treatment, the more likely he is to recover from it as well.
4. Is grooming still necessary for elderly dogs?
Maintaining hygiene and grooming is an important part of your dog’s well-being throughout his life. Although it might be difficult to groom senior dogs, it’s necessary to do so to keep a check on any skin issues caused due to aging. Regular grooming will give you a chance to detect any age-related issues like skin irritation, thinning of hair or any lumps or rashes. Good hygiene routines will also ensure your dog feels healthy inside and out. While brushing his hair, make sure to do it slowly so as to not hurt him. Long nails could make it difficult for him to walk and might even hurt him. Grooming your dog regularly can also help in finding any ticks or anything unusual with him as well.
5. Brushing seems silly for dogs, how does it help them?
Although brushing your dog’s teeth might seem silly, it gives you a chance to inspect your dog’s mouth at any given age. This would help you to identify any dental issues or infections and help you get it treated before it escalates. So make sure to use a dog toothbrush with soft bristles and frequently brush his teeth. This would also help your dog to have a fresh breath. Another way to help keep your dog’s teeth clean is by using dog chew sticks or dental sticks. They help to remove any tartar or food residue and give your senior dog a clean smile!
6. How can I ensure comfort for my dog?
As your dog grows older, there could be a chance of joint pain and muscle ache. So providing soft and comfy bedding will give him a comfortable resting time and provide good support to his joints. Various orthopedic beds can also be used if your dog has severe joint pain.
7. Why is it necessary to socialize senior dogs?
Socializing especially in your dog’s elderly years will make them feel lively and playful. Although they might not be as active as adult dogs, without socializing your dogs might get more anxious and also have behavior problems like aggression towards outsiders. It will also help to keep your dog active and happy.
Elderly dogs may require more care and with a little attention and support, you can easily continue giving your dog a comfortable life.