Blog Caring for an Aging Dog
As a dog lover, you probably get tired of being reminded that a dog ages seven years for every human year. Instead of dwelling on this, however, the best thing you can do for your canine companion is discover new ways to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy during those senior years.
Here are some tips to help you take care of your older dog:
Weight and Exercise
By keeping your dog’s weight at a healthy level, you can potentially add years to your life together. Encourage plenty of exercise through activities such as walking and playing. If your dog has mobility issues, you can still engage him in healthy activities that won’t tax his muscles, such as playful cuddling and hiding things under blankets for him to find.
There’s a wide variety of commercial dog food that’s formulated specifically for the nutritional needs of older dogs. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a senior blend with plenty of beneficial supplements.
Supplements and Joint Medicines
Talk to your veterinarian about proper supplementation and joint health as your dog ages. Also, regular X rays and exams can help spot inflammation and pain which may need to be treated with an anti-inflammatory to ensure your dog’s health and comfort.
Dental infections can lead to serious, life-threatening problems such as kidney disease, so make sure your dog has regular teeth cleanings and dental checkups.
Annual / Semi-Annual Physicals
Just like people, senior dogs can suffer from arthritis and joint problems, as well as illnesses such as kidney or heart disease. In order to prevent these conditions from occurring and/or progressing, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups. Routine blood tests and specific diagnostic tests can determine whether your dog is suffering from any unexpected medical conditions. Early detection is key because there’s a wide range of therapies currently available that can help mitigate your companions suffering and even prolong his/her life.
The Soft Life
The older we get, the more our bones and joints tend to ache, and the same is true for our pets, which is why you may have noticed that your senior dog has become fonder than ever of that comfy chair or overstuffed sofa. Give your older dog plenty of warm, soft, fluffy pillows, bedding and blankets to enjoy at bedtime or during naps. Also, offer softer foods and treats to help protect those aging teeth and gums.
Very Important Paws offers comfortable raised Kuranda Beds with soft sheep skin mats for our older hotel guests. A swim in our exercise tub in our Aqua Park may be just the right thing for an older dog that needs low impact exercise to keep slim and trim. Make sure to ask your veterinarian about ways in which you can make your senior companion more comfortable during these golden retirement years.