As much as we try not to think about it: Our fur babies will get old at some point. Depending on breed and size, most dogs enter their senior years between five years (for larger breeds) and 10 years (for smaller breeds). Thanks to amazing guardians and knowledgable vets, pet dogs are living longer and healthier lives than they used to. But what can we do to make their golden years as happy as possible? Here are some tips:
Schedule more vet visits
It is recommended that you take your senior dog in for a vet checkup at least twice a year. Just like old people, older pets are more likely to get ill. Also many breeds have predispositions toward certain conditions including arthritis, hip dysplasia, cancer and diabetes that are best caught early.
Give them a healthy diet
As our pets get older, their diet requirements change and you may consider reducing the amount of food you’re feeding them, switching them to senior pet food as well as to add certain supplements to their diet. Probiotics support a healthy gut, Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supports joints and salmon oil can be helpful as an anti-inflammatory supplement for older dogs suffering from arthritis. It may also help keep the brain functioning sharp in aging dogs.
Watch their teeth
Dental hygiene is particularly crucial as your dog ages. Regular brushing and professional cleaning can prevent painful dental disease and decay that later on lead to chewing problems. There are dental products like toothbrushes and tooth paste for dogs but if your dog absolutely hates his teeth brushed, consider dental chews or toys.
Provide mental exercise
As your senior dog isn’t as physically fit as he used to be, it is a good idea to go more for the mental kind of workout. Long walks, puzzle toys and “find the treat” games are a great way to do this.
Senior-proof the house and garden
Just as you puppy-proofed your home a long time ago, you now need to arrange your house for your senior pet. For dogs with hip dysplasia or joint issues, get them a cosy bed and consider a special ramp or stairs so they can still get in the car. Many senior dogs have decreased hearing, vision and mobility, so make sure the environment is safe and keep food and water close to them.
Brush them regularly
A good brushing is good for your furry one and can help you find rashes and lumps.
Give them lots of cuddlesTaking care of an older dog may involve a little more work than you’re used to doing, but caring for a lifetime companion is a deeply rewarding experience. After they were there for us and loved us all their life, it is an honor to take care of them when they’re old!