Lack of energy, cataracts and hearing problems are just some of the inevitable issues senior dogs will start to have. Furthermore, senior dogs are at a higher risk of getting kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or become obese. However, different breeds are considered seniors at a different age, so just because small breeds are considered old when they are 10 or 11 it doesn’t mean than medium-sized breeds, like Golden Retriever, will become seniors at the same time.
The larger the breed, the sooner it’ll become old, but the genetics and the lifestyle of your four-legged friend will play a significant part in the aging process too. Senior dogs require different care than adult dogs and puppies, so you will have to start changing things around a little bit to keep your canine healthy and happy.
Introduce age-appropriate diet
A balanced diet is essential in maintaining your dog’s health when they’re older. Senior dogs are at higher risk of developing obesity because their energy levels will decrease over time. Therefore, it’s crucial to find the best dog food, especially designed for aging canines. This will prevent weight gain and make sure your dog is healthy even in its senior years. Food for older dogs usually contains less fat and has fewer calories which will be perfect balance for your senior dog’s nutrition.
Provide special accommodations
Arthritis or other bone and joint problems that affect the dog’s mobility are often health concerns with senior dogs. If your dog has gone blind, it’ll have trouble jumping on the bed or sofa at night. That’s why you should invest in some of the comfortable leather lounge suites where your dog won’t have trouble climbing up. A soft bedding and an easily accessible sofa will prevent injuries and tripping hazards.
Also, if you have stairs that the dog needs to climb and go down, buy or build a doggy ramp to make their movements much less stressful. Installing doggy proof gates and restricting their access to the stairs can also be a good solution. If your dog suffers from arthritis, place carpets and rugs around the house to make their movements a lot easier. Some senior dogs can end up completely blind, in which case you’ll have to ensure easy navigation through the house.
Don’t move furniture around because your dog has been accustomed to one furniture setting and you’ll only confuse the pooch by shifting sofas, armchairs and tables around. Prevent them from bumping into things, as they will end up hurting themselves. Therefore, try to keep the furniture in its current place. Also make sure you have a comfortable bed for them to rest and sleep in.
Regular exercise is essential
Just like in humans, physical activity is essential for the well-being of your canine. By having your dog exercise regularly, it will maintain its ideal weight. Furthermore, physical activity will also have a beneficial impact on their overall health. Feel free to consult your vet on any recommended exercise program that would benefit your dog’s current condition. With potential limitations and restrictions, the canine may not be able or advised to do certain activities.
If they’re still able to move, regular walks and jogs will slowly build the dog’s stamina. Keep in mind that as time passes, the dog will have less energy to perform physical activities, so don’t be surprised if they suddenly can’t take the entire half-hour jog but need more rest sooner than before.
They’ll need regular vet checkups
Another essential part of senior dog’s care are vet checkups. You’ll have to visit the vet regularly because your furry friend’s immune system will become weaker as the dog ages. This will make them more prone to all sorts of ailments, which is why you should make regular appointments at the vet at least twice a year. Only then will your vet have a good chance of detecting new problems, which if discovered early on, can be successfully taken care of.
Taking care of a senior dog will be challenging but you should make sure that your four-legged friend has the best treatment regardless of how old it is. Therefore, once you start noticing grey hair around their muzzle and eyes, know that you’ll need to switch up the daily routine you’ve had for so many years. Special dietary needs, regular vet check-ups, special accommodation and improved physical activity will be required once your dog stops to see that well and grow old if you want them to still be healthy and happy.