Dogs—man’s best friends and our beloved companions. You grow with them, and you get to see them grow from a sweet puppy to a calm senior. While this can be a beautiful process to witness, most people are not prepared for their dogs’ senior years. Senior dog care isn’t hard, but knowledge of the topic is crucial. What will change as your dog ages? What kinds of things should you know when caring for your senior dog?
1. Prepare for vet visits
While your dog can be completely healthy for most of his or her life, the golden years often bring additional medical problems with them. Even if there are none, your dog’s checkups should become more frequent the older your dog is. Visiting your vet one or two times per year is most likely enough, though. It is also important to save up some money now to cover medical expenses later.
2. Dietary changes
If you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s weight or if your dog is developing digestive problems, then a dietary change might be needed. It is important that your senior dog gets high-quality canine food that is designed for older dogs. Remember to also be aware of how active your dog is. The appropriate food may vary depending on your dog’s activity levels. Also be sure to consult your veterinarian regarding your dog’s dietary needs. There are some diseases and situations where a special diet might be beneficial or necessary.
3. Know the signs
There are many different diseases that come with ageing in dogs; therefore, it is more important than ever for you to keep an eye on your dog’s behavior. Sudden limping or regular vomiting can be signs of a condition or disease that needs immediate attention. Make certain to take appropriate measures early enough. Being aware of your dog’s behavioral changes is crucial in senior dog care, and it might even save your dog’s life!
4. Don’t let the drop in activity levels fool you
It is true that many dogs become more passive as they age, but this doesn’t mean you should stop engaging your dog in regular activities. An important part about senior dog care is making sure your dog stays engaged and gets enough exercise. You might have to slow your pace when walking or playing with your dog. You might even have to get new toys. But it will definitely be worth it! Activity in the later years of a dog’s life can lengthen its lifetime significantly, so why not grab that leash and go for an extra jog with your dog today?
5. Keep that mouth clean!
Many people might not realize that brushing a dog’s teeth or making sure that there are enough dental treats is crucial throughout a dog’s life. Especially during the senior years, caries—cavities or tooth decay—and inflammation of the gums tend to become more common. Watch out for any problems around the mouth. And if you haven’t already, go ahead and buy that canine toothbrush!
6. Keep your home dog proof
An unpleasant change that might come with the senior years is a loss of senses. Your dog’s eyesight and hearing might grow significantly worse during the senior years. Therefore, a big part of senior dog care is making your home a safe place for your dog. Your dog could bump into furniture or counters, so try to avoid things that might easily fall and shatter onto the floor. Also, if you have a multi-level home, make sure that your dog has food, water, bedding, and toys available downstairs.
7. Parasites—dog’s worst friend
Another annoyance that comes with a dog’s increasing age is a weakening immune system. This means your senior dog will be more prone to diseases and parasites, with the latter being an especially irritating problem. To avoid this, make sure that you take countermeasures against these parasites. But beware that some preventative measurements can be harmful, which is why you should always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog a new medication.