How to Best Care For Your Senior Dog•
Posted on February 08 2018
The age at which dogs are considered a senior varies significantly by breed. For example, larger breeds, like Great Danes, are considered a senior at just five to six years old, while a chihuahua doesn’t reach this milestone until about ten or eleven. Though it can be tough to see your beloved friend slow down, knowing when they’ve reached their golden years and how best to care for them are important to ensuring quality of life. Keep these tips in mind to make their transition into maturity as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Increase Vet Visits to Twice a Year
As we all know, dogs age faster than humans, so six months to your dog’s body is a lot longer than it is for yours. Step up the frequency of your vet visits to stay on top of your dog’s health. While there, the vet may perform blood work, dental care, and other procedures that become routine as dogs age.
Senior-Proof Your Home
Many dogs begin to develop arthritis or hip dysplasia as they get older, or even go blind and deaf. Making accommodations in your home will help them navigate it with more ease. Keep food, water, and sleeping areas on the first level for easier access. Reduce strain on aging joints by investing in a pet stair gate to restrict their stair access, or use it outside to keep them confined to the deck. The Stair Barrier offers two indoor/outdoor fabrics that are mildew and weather resistant. Keeping your older dog confined to the deck helps prevent them from roaming free in the yard where they are more susceptible to any possible injuries.
Monitor their Eating and Exercise Routine
The regular meals and exercise that were once a part of their daily routine may start to become too much for your dog. Though senior dogs still need a moderate amount of exercise to avoid becoming overweight, keep an eye out for signs that they’ve reached their limit. In addition, monitor how easily they consume their food. Dental issues are common with older dogs. Their normal kibble may become too hard to chew or digest. Talk to your vet about switching their food to one formulated specifically for senior dogs.
As dogs get older, their immune systems get weaker, making them more susceptible to parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms. Though usually treatable, these parasites can initiate the onset of other health problems. Talk to your vet about what the safest and most effective preventative course of action would be for your pup.
Brush Their Teeth
Improper dental care can cause problems down the road. Dental disease can begin in dogs as early as two to three years, resulting in lost teeth as they get older. This, of course, will make eating difficult, and can even inhibit your pup from properly maintaining his or her coat. If brushing your dog’s teeth proves to be an impossible task, invest in some toys and treats that promote dental hygiene to help keep your dog’s mouth clean.
Do you have an older dog? What do you recommend for keeping them healthy and active?