That canine lives are so much shorter than human lives is a source of much distress to dog owners, who have watched their beloved companion grow from puppy to seniority. Understanding how to cater for the changing needs of your senior dog as it grows older is as important as training a puppy.
Generally speaking, larger breeds age much faster than smaller breeds. A Chihuahua will reach seniority at around ten to eleven years of age; a Great Dane will reach seniority at between five and six years. You need to pay close attention to the appearance and behaviour of your dog to ensure that you can respond in appropriate and supportive ways.
Greying coat, loss of mobility, failure to respond to familiar instruction, uncharacteristic bad temper, may all be indicators that your dog has reached seniority. Senior dogs will be prone to ailments, so it is important to ensure that you choose the right pet insurance policy to cover any operations or medication requirements. With your attentive care your dog can enjoy an active and pain-free old age. Here are some tips to help you help your aging companion.
As dogs get older they slow down, just like humans. They require less exercise than when they were young, but it’s very important that they remain active. Be sensitive to how your dog is coping with their exercise.
Walk at the dog’s pace, be prepared to take breaks, go for several short walks rather than one long one. Allowing your dog to become inactive is not the solution, it is bad for the dog’s mental health and physical health. Inactive dogs become overweight and increased weight can cause problems with joints and lead to diabetes and heart disease.
As your dog gets older they will require fewer calories and therefore a low-calorie diet is essential in order to avoid obesity. Keeping your dog’s weight at an appropriate level is the best thing you can do to ensure happy, healthy later years. A high fibre diet will help improve gastrointestinal health and remember to ensure that you give your dog plenty of water. Treats should be low fat and low sodium. Diet supplements can also help with mobility and digestion, though you should always consult your vet before introducing them.
Grooming and dental care
Senior dogs are not able to groom themselves as they once did. Regular brushing will keep the hair tangle free and will give you early warning of any incipient skin problems. Keep a close eye on paws and nails, in less active dogs, untrimmed nails are at risk of growing into the pads. If possible, you should try to clean your dog’s teeth: decaying teeth can cause serious pain and serious health problems.
Stimulation and companionship
Dogs experience brain changes as they get older, consequently they may become disorientated or uncharacteristically jumpy. Keep them stimulated with new toys, give them plenty of affection and ensure that their environment is cosy and easy for them to navigate.
A Senior Dog Conclusion
You and your senior dog have been through a lot together and I am sure you wouldn’t change a moment of it. Except maybe when she chewed your favourite pair of shoes!
However when your love your dog with all your heart it doesn’t matter how old they are or aging aliments. After all, she’s your dog, no matter if she walks a little slower or needs a little more care, she’ll always be perfect to you.
How do you care for your senior dog?