There will come a time when your dog turns into an older dog, also known as a senior dog. While you may not realize it, having a senior dog requires different care and maintenance than younger dogs. With the aging process, there are invariable ups and downs. You will get the luxury of spending far less time worrying about their behavior and how to change it and far more time concerned about their health.
In order to make sure that your senior dog is being properly cared for, you need to make sure you are knowledgeable about their needs. The following are five tips to help you better care for your senior dog.
1. Ensure they get routine checkups.
As your dog gets older, his or her body will start to decrease in efficiency. Because of this, your dog becomes more at risk for getting certain diseases or suffering from certain illnesses. This is why it’s extremely important for you to have them regularly checked by a veterinarian.
Your vet has a different procedure they use on senior dogs, and they will also do different tests and labs on your dog to help them stay healthy as they get older. Plus, your vet will likely change their diet to keep your dog’s internal systems working properly and keeping them from becoming overweight.
2. Stick to the intended diet.
As your dog gets older, your vet will likely change their diet. It’s very important that you stick to the new diet provided by your vet to ensure your senior dog stays healthy. These diets are meant to digest easier and to provide your dog with the nutrients they need as they age. Keeping them on the same diet as they were on as a younger dog will not help to keep them healthy.
Your dog may not be able to run around the same way they did as a younger pup, but that doesn’t mean that your senior dog doesn’t need exercise. In fact, exercise is extremely important for an older dog, as it will help to keep their body working properly and keep them from becoming obese. Taking your senior dog for a short walk is just the right amount of exercise they need to stay healthy.
4. Make your house accessible.
Your senior dog is not going to have the ability to move about your house the way they did when they were younger, which means you may have to make some adjustments. For example, if your dog is having trouble climbing stairs, you may need to move their necessities and belongings to the lower level of your home. If your dog cannot jump into bed, you may need to invest in stairs that can help them get into bed more easily. Making the necessary adjustments for your dog will ensure that they can still do and enjoy the things they love.
5. Understand that their personality may change.
Your dog will be undergoing new feelings and emotions as they get older, which means that their personality may change. For example, if your dog is constantly in pain due to arthritis or other health issues, it may not make them the watchdog they once were. If your dog has become annoyed with the changes they experience, they may not be the lovable and cuddly pup they once were. It’s important to understand that your dog’s behavioral changes may have an impact on your household. For example, if you have young kids in the house, it’s possible that your dog may start to bark or snap at the children instead of allowing them to climb all over him or her like they once did. It’s important to keep this in mind for your family’s safety.