For most dog owners, especially if you began caring for your dogs when they were still puppies, they’re always going to be your babies even though they’re already quite aged in canine (and human) years. But the day will come when you’ll notice your baby isn’t able to run as fast as before or isn’t able to stand erect and climb onto your benches and patios anymore. What’s the best thing to do?
Here are some tips to help maintain the health of your fur babies when they’re older.
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1. Give pet care supplements
As your dog ages, it would need more attention from you. One of the things you could do to help your elderly dog age well is to find out more about giving supplements for elderly dog care. You could look here for some examples. You have to be careful about this, though, and you might want to talk about it with your veterinarian before giving some to your pet.
2. Protect them from extremes
Another thing you need to know about elderly dogs is that they’re more sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. Older pets react this way because of changes in their metabolism. You have to make sure they have something like a coat or contraption to keep them warm. Don’t let them stay out too long during cold weather.
It’s the same with too much heat. Make sure you keep them inside during an extremely hot day or they’ll dehydrate.
3. Watch your dog’s diet
Most elderly dogs show signs of not being able to eat certain kinds of foods. Watch out for these signs. Not all dogs are able to show that they have diet issues. Some of these problems can manifest as a lack of appetite, while for others, it can be obesity. For some dogs, it can be difficulty in chewing their food or even digestive issues.
Some of the changes you can do are adding more fiber or cutting out on the carb. You can also ask your vet if you could add fish oil or glucosamine to your dog’s food to help alleviate joint pains.
4. Bring your baby to the vet more often
As your baby dog ages, you would need to bring it to the vet more often. Going twice a year should be a good number for elderly dogs. Just as senior people need to be more conscious of their health conditions and go to their doctors for check-ups and tests more often, the same is true for aging pets. They require more frequent visits to the vet.
Older pets require more attention since they need to have additional blood tests, dental care, and medical examinations. If you hear your aging pup having difficulties in peeing or pooping, then maybe it’s time to have their liver and kidneys checked. There are also breeds that have more tendency toward getting certain illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Watch out for early signs.
5. Bring your dog for a walk
As with people, elderly dogs already experience certain difficulties in doing physical activities, which they used to do with ease. Some dogs suffer from joint pains while some aren’t able to breathe well after running around. But you should still bring your dog around for a walk or play with it. Don’t let them remain idle all day. Take them for a walk. They still need to get mental stimulation. Play with them to keep their minds sharp.
However, don’t overdo it. Your dog is no longer as young as the pup it was when you first took it in. Do it slowly. You can start by bringing your dog on regular walks to build your dog’s stamina. Older dogs have lower energy levels. If your dog was able to run for hours before, it might not be able to do the same now.
6. Check your dog’s teeth
Another thing you need to remember is to check your dog’s teeth every so often. A lot of elderly dogs don’t receive the right dental care. You’ll often see older dogs with a few missing or broken teeth. It’s best to take care of this when your dogs are still young. But you can still do something about it even if your dogs have already advanced in age.
As your dog ages, its dental hygiene will become more important as compared to when they were younger. Every now and then, give your dog a regular brushing. If there are signs of painful dental disease and tooth decay, calling for professional cleaning would also help. If you haven’t been able to do this, you can also opt for dental treats and toys.
7. Vaccine and parasite protection
You can continue giving parasite protection even when your dog has already reached an advanced age. Their age doesn’t matter when it comes to flea, tick, and worm protection. But there’s a slight difference when it comes to vaccines. Elderly dogs don’t need to be given vaccines at the same intervals. You should read more about how frequent vaccines should be given, but it’s still best to consult your vet. They would know what’s best for your dog.
8. Make your home senior dog-friendly
One more thing you should keep in mind when you have an aging dog is to make sure your home is adjusted for your dog’s aging condition. Make your home senior dog-friendly. Some of the things you can do are putting up special ramps or stairs so they can still climb onto benches. You might also need to set up ways to help them climb patios, get into your car, or join you on the bed. Another thing you should observe is to keep food and water in areas they can easily reach. If you’re in a cold country, heated beds can soothe achy joints.
Another thing that commonly affects elderly dogs is bone and joint issues. In many instances, older dogs develop arthritis. Most of them have difficulty running or even just walking. They won’t be able to say this out loud, so you have to keenly observe if your dog’s complaining about something. One thing you can do to ease your pet’s pain is to give it some soft bedding. Make sure your dog won’t have to run or jump to climb onto the bed.
Aging with your best friend
The years may have passed on quickly and you didn’t notice that your dog has already aged. It just caught your attention when it was panting a bit too much after playing with you and running around. Your dog may always be a baby in your eyes, but the fact is that their health won’t keep up as much. And aging with your best friend would be a lot better if you do these things.