Senior Dog Care - Top Tips For Living With A Mature Canine
Just like us, our dog’s needs change as they age. So how can you help make those golden years as comfortable as possible? We share top tips for senior dog care to help that mature tail to keep wagging.
Our four legged friends are so like us in so many ways - that’s why we love them. And just like us, there's no exact age at which they are classed as a senior dog. Most vets would say that between the ages of 5-9 years old, your dog will start to show some behavioral changes that could indicate they are feeling their age.
And when that happens, it’s important to understand that as a senior, your dog might need a few adjustments to their routine, feed & normal care. After all, they’ve earned the right to enjoy their golden years!
Older dogs will start to need a little extra comfort in their lives. So having a cosy, warm space that offers them peace and quiet is an ideal way to care for a senior dog. This allows them to rest and recharge their batteries more often.
Many senior pooches may feel the cold more than usual too, so investing in a raincoat or warming fleece for those winter walks may be a wise idea.
Grip can be tricky for an older dog too, so slippery floors can quickly become an issue. Placing down rugs can really help an old dog find their footing.
As their sight and hearing deteriorates, loud noises or sudden movements could unsettle your older pooch. So be mindful of children or stressful situations that they could find overwhelming. Try and keep them in a comfortable routine.
While they may not be so keen to go on longer runs, it’s still important to stretch those legs on the daily. A little and often approach to exercise can help a senior dog to circulate blood and oxygen and keep joints flexible.
Cold and wet weather may make for achy joints, but moving indoors is still possible. A little playtime, a visit to the pet store or even a treadmill session can help to keep those legs warm and moving.
Mental exercise is also important to help keep your dog fighting fit. Just like us, the more our dogs use their brains the healthier they will be. Check out our blog on 7 stimulating exercises you can try with your mature pooch.
Sadly, weaker bladders are part of aging. Which means making sure your senior dog has an easily accessible toilet area is a must. That’s part of the reason we created the Potty Buddy, as it’s a soft, non slippery surface that can be placed somewhere discreet. Machine washable, you can easily keep on top of your older dog’s needs, without any extra effort or midnight wake up calls.
Older dogs often find their nails need clipping more often, so keep an eye on how they sound on your floors. If there’s excess clacking, it’s time for a trim.
A good groom can help keep you both feeling connected too, especially if play time is less appealing nowadays. Plus a gentle but thorough brush can really help to get the blood flowing, especially on a rainy day when getting outdoors doesn’t feel ideal. This is also an ideal opportunity to check for any lumps and bumps.
Feeding A Senior Dog
As your dog ages, talk to your veterinarian or canine nutritionist to find out how to phase in an age appropriate food. An older dog will still need a good, well-balanced diet, but might just need one that is lower in calories, as their exercise capacity reduces.
For some older dogs, you can continue to feed their regular food, but in a smaller quantity. Some owners like to discuss a higher protein diet as their dog ages, as this is often recommended for aging humans too.
Keeping an older dog lean can boost their quality of life, and minimize the risks of issues such as osteoarthritis of diabetes.
Some older dogs may find their appetite wanes, and might need encouragement from their owner to help keep food enticing. Warming or wetting the food can make it more appealing. Also, make sure that they are not having to compete with younger dogs for their food, which can be common in multi-pet households.
If your senior dog is losing weight or gaining weight rapidly, or shows a marked change in appetite, it’s always best to check in with your vet.
A Lot Of TLC
A reduction in cognitive ability is common with aging. This may mean your doggo forgets the house rules now and again, how to do certain tasks or where things are. So be mindful that they might start to forget his usual manners from time to time, and this shouldn’t be a cause for reprimand.
Instead, give them lots of reassurance and TLC, whilst gently correcting the behavior.
If your dog starts to experience any major behavior changes, have him checked out by a vet to be sure that it’s just the years catching up with them and not anything more serious.
Staying in contact with your vet, and perhaps boosting your number of checkups, is a great way to keep on top of your senior dog's wellbeing. Often a vet can help your dog with medications and supplements to ease their joints or ailments, allowing them to enjoy themselves for a long time yet.
So there you have it, our top tips for living with a mature canine.
Have any suggestions yourself? Let us know! We’re always happy to hear from you.
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