Whether you’ve had your four-legged friend since they were a pup or you’ve adopted an older dog, it is important to take into account that as dogs age, their needs change and they made need a little extra care. Here are some tips to help your dog enjoy their golden years in comfort and contentment.
Maintain regular health checks
Like people, dogs are more prone to certain health conditions as they get older. Health problems associated with old age in dogs include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and problems with eyes, ears, and teeth to name just a few. It is important that your dog receives regular health checks so that potential issues can be identified early and treated quickly. You should also continue to schedule routine vaccinations and pest treatment, even if your dog is not going outside as often as they used to.
Provide a comfortable environment
Your dog’s environment may need adjusting as they get older. They may stiffen up, so it is important that they have easy access to a warm and comfortable bed to sleep on. They should be able to access regular food and water easily and maneuver around the house safely. You may also find that they have more toilet accidents as they get older, so having access to an outdoor area or a puppy pad in case of emergency will help reduce cleanups.
Suitable food and supplements
A good diet is vital for dogs’ health, especially as they get older. You may find that you need to change their diet based on a medical condition, or that they need additional supplementation. There is a range of senior dog supplements available that can help support mobility, immune system, kidney function, and more. You may also find that as your dog needs less exercise, they may start to put on weight, so reducing their portions or switching to a food formulated for senior dogs can help reduce the risk of obesity and the associated problems.
Physical and mental exercise
Your dog may need or want less exercise as they age. While you should follow their lead to an extent, they should have some exercise, even if this is short, gentle walks or playing with a toy. Check with your vet if you are unsure what sort of exercise will benefit your dog. It is also important to look after your dog’s mental health. Pay them attention, play with them, and groom them regularly to maintain your bond and keep them healthy of mind. This also gives you a chance to check for lumps, bumps, and lesions.
Remember that your dog’s personality may change as they age. They may suffer from canine dementia or become less tolerant. Make sure you mention any behavioral changes to your vet to ensure that there is not an underlying medical cause. Most importantly, be patient and understanding. Your dog cannot help these changes, and they are not trying to be difficult. Enjoy these calmer and slower days with your faithful companion.