Like humans, pets age, too! It is important for you to help your senior dog grow old gracefully and that means keeping his health and well-being front and center. Here are a few tips to keep your senior dog healthy and young as well.
Tips to Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy
- Ensure that you continue taking your dog to the vet. If you have had your senior for most of his life, then you most likely have an established relationship with a veterinarian. If you are just adding a senior to the family, make sure you find one right away. Talk with your vet regarding appointment frequency for your particular senior dog. Dependent upon your pet’s needs and circumstances, treatments and visits will vary.
- As your dog gets older, you’ll need to modify his diet. Younger dogs have much different nutritional needs than a senior. Seniors tend to become less active thereby not requiring that high caloric intake. To ensure you don’t over feed Fido, discuss diet options and needs with your vet.
- Exercise, at this stage of your senior dog’s life, is still very important. It helps keep him stimulated, keeps weight at a healthy level and helps the joints. Remember what Fido could do in his younger years, won’t be something he should be doing as a senior. Shorten walks, less running, but keep him moving.
- Mental stimulation is as equally important as physical exercise for your senior dog. It’s never too late to teach your old dog new tricks and even old dogs want to have fun, too. Keep things fresh and exciting. Would you want to play the same old games year after year? Not only will this keep your senior dog super sharp but it will also strengthen the bond with you, his best friend.
- If you begin to notice behavioral changes, make sure you notify your vet immediately. When it comes to a senior dog, these changes can be a red flag that something is amiss. Grouchy behavior can mean anything from pain to loss of sight and hearing. Sleep routine, appetite, and water intake, along with changes in a senior dog’s bathroom habits can all mean something is not right.
- Make getting around user friendly for your senior dog. Stairs, ramps and assistance with getting in and out of the car are all things your senior will benefit from. This will not only provide comfort to your aging dog but will also minimize the likelihood of injuries associated with falls.
- Create a cozy sleep area that will be easier on a senior’s dogs joints. Add a comfy bed with warm, clean blankets. There are many orthopedic type dog beds out there these days. This will aid your senior in obtaining a good night’s rest as well as help ease any arthritis issues he may be facing. The warm and soft environment can also help keep arthritis at bay. If your dog has not yet earned the right to sleep off of the hard floor, there’s no time like the present.
We hope that you will review these tips to keep your senior dog healthy and put them into practice in your home, whether you have a senior dog or not. A senior dog can be just as loving and interactive as a younger dog, and may even be easier to care for with lower energy levels. If you’re considering getting a senior dog, check out adoption organizations like Old Dog Haven, PAWS, and Everett Animal Rescue Foundation.
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