Helping Your Aging Dog
Learn 4 steps you can take to help your dog be more comfortable in his final years
You might notice that his muzzle has started to grey, or that she's slower to get up in the morning. Whatever the cue, it's suddenly hit you that your dog is getting, well, older.
Dogs are considered to enter their senior years between seven and ten years old, depending on their breed. Even as seniors, dogs can continue to have rewarding lives that bring pleasure to their families.
As an owner there are some important steps you can take to help make your dog's senior years as golden as possible. Continue reading for 4 of the most common steps.
- Make Dietary Changes
Dietary recommendations are a little different for older dogs and focus on their feeding frequency, their weight, and food-type:
- The ASPCA recommends that you begin feeding your senior pet on a more frequent basis, breaking their two larger meals into three or four smaller ones spread across the day. Smaller meals can help prevent intestinal upset that is common in older dogs.
- If your dog is overweight, consider helping them loose it. Extra weight can be particularly taxing for an older dog's movement and can make him at higher risk for developing diabetes.
- Your vet will recommend a switch to senior food around seven years of age, depending on your dog's breed. These foods are lower in fat but still contain high amounts of protein. Ask your vet about foods with additional supplements such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids that can help support aging joints.
- See Your Vet Regularly
Speaking of your vet, you should make sure that you're taking your dog to the vet's office at least every year. As your dog ages, your vet may recommend the dog come in once every six months to help minimize the onset of conditions that are more common in older age, including:
- Arthritis and degenerative joint diseases
- Prostate disease in males and breast cancer in females
- Kidney and liver problems
- Intestinal problems
You shouldn't wait for your next appointment if your dog is exhibiting unusual behavior or symptoms that concern you, including:
- Shortness of breath or coughing
- Urinary incontinence, diarrhea, or constipation
- Weakness, stiffness or limping
- Change in weight or appetite
- Unusual aggression or strange behavior changes
Paying attention to your dog's demeanor and having a good working relationship with your vet can help keep your dog in the best health possible.
- Keep It Routine
Older dogs like their routine, so try to keep it. While they may rest more, make sure you still provide a daily time to be outside and get exercise, even if it's just a few short walks. Exercise will help your dog feel and stay young.
Your dog may be less interested in new people and unknown dogs. Be mindful of your dog's preferences and honor them. Your dog may be happier in its crate or in another room instead of having to take in new stimuli.
- Make Accommodations
Keep your home clear of clutter on floors and stairs to help slower moving dogs and ones who may be loosing their sight. You may want to consider pet ramps for dogs that are showing signs of arthritis and are having trouble getting to their favorite places.
Be mindful that older dogs cannot regulate their body temperature as well as young dogs. Make sure they have a comfortable refuge from both hot, humid days and frigid ones.
We're Here to Help Meet Your Dog's Needs
Dogs are wonderful pets because, regardless of their age, they provide the unconditional love and companionship that their humans enjoy so much. Show your appreciation for your dog by helping to meet their changing needs as they age.
While sharing your time and love is the best gift you can give your dog, Pet Super Store offers a wide range of products that can help your dog with their changing daily needs, including pet ramps and stairs, dog seats and a wide selection of orthopedic dog beds for aching joints.
Pet Super Store is here to meet your dog's physical needs across their lifespan with not only quality products, but actionable tips for pet owners with our Knowledge Center and Blog. Please browse around to learn more, or contact us to discuss your individual dogs’ needs today.