As dogs get older, they need extra care and support. Caring for a senior dog with its additional needs and requirements may leave you feeling stressed and anxious, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
Focusing on your dog, adapting, and growing with them is important. Taking one step at a time in the care of your dog will help you create a life that is both fulfilling and rewarding.
Check Are They Consuming a Nutritious Diet or Not
Nutrients and nutrition become even more important as a dog gets older, so you must make sure their diet is as balanced as possible. Food or kibble that you may have been giving them previously may not be giving them the nutritional value that they need now.
Weighing out food and looking at high-protein options may be necessary for your dog’s diet. To make any changes to your dog’s diet (no matter how small), take your time. Do not just change the food they consume overnight.
Switch a little every day and gradually introduce a new food. Be sure to get your dog weighed regularly, and ensure you weigh out the portions you are feeding your dog.
Encourage Gentle and Light Exercise for Senior Dog
Your dog may not feel like bounding over fields anymore, but this does not mean that they do not want to go out for a walk.
You may feel nervous about exercising or walking your senior dog, especially if they have been very active before. Again, making changes slowly and following these tips for exercising older dogs will help you see what you can do to give your dog the best quality of life.
This may mean that you reduce the number of walks you take your dog on, or it may mean you focus on shorter walks throughout the week.
Top Tip – Don’t Forget the Claws and Paws – Senior dogs can feel unsteady on their feet at times, so it is important that you keep their claws trimmed – especially if they are exercising less. Regularly check pads and paws to ensure that no infections are present.
Regular Vets Visits and Checkups
A senior dog’s health will change as they get older, and this is why regular vet visits and checkups are so important. Older dogs can begin to develop lumps, arthritis, joint problems as well as hearing and sight loss.
Ailments can leave dogs feeling lethargic, and they can change how they behave daily. Being accommodating to your dog’s changing needs is important. Regular vet visits will help you stay on top of any ailments and help you spot anything as it arises.
Checkups that happen every few months will give you the opportunity to check on your dog’s overall well-being, gut health and physical health.
Good Dental Care for Senior Dog
Teeth and mouth care are important for a senior dog. They may be suffering from a buildup of plaque as they get older, and this can impact how they eat (and the food they eat).
Giving your dog a daily dental stick, as well as cleaning their teeth every few months will help you stay on top of plaque. Some dogs may need to have their teeth professionally cleaned or polished if plaque is building.
Clean and Fresh Water
Senior dogs need access to fresh and clean drinking water at all times – both when food is present and when it is not. Some dogs can suffer from kidney issues, and this can have an impact on how much water they need to drink.
If water is not available, dogs can end up feeling dehydrated and this can then make them feel lethargic – which will have an impact on their mood and overall well-being.
Top Tip: Remember to give your dog space and time when they need it. Some senior dogs cant get grumpy and they can decide they want less fuss than normal. Always respect a dog’s boundaries, and give them the space they need to relax and enjoy their retirement.
Reducing Stress and Increasing Comfort for Senior Dog
Dogs can feel unsteady on their feet as they get older, and they can start to lose their balance. They may feel elevated levels of stress due to not being as active as they once were. Making sure you keep a calm and stress-free environment is essential for your dog, as this will help them feel relaxed.
Senior dogs can be prone to having accidents in the house. As the frequency of accidents increases, you may wish to give them a rubber mat to sleep on or you may even start using puppy pads to ensure they are not lying or sleeping in their urine.
Changing your the bedding of your senior dog and giving them more comfortable beds to sleep on will ease their joints and help them sleep better.