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Taking Care of a Senior Dog | Witnessing your dog aging and having health issues may be a most heart-wrenching reality for a dog parent. A canine’s ailing health, weak eyesight and hearing, or the ability to be as playful as when they were a puppy can be some tell-tale signs of aging.
However, this does not mean that all is gloomy. On the bright side, a senior dog that’s able to live a ling healthy life is a sign that you have had a wonderful time together. Therefore, instead of sulking about your dog’s condition, you should take care of it and love it even more as it the circle of life takes its course.
Thus, here are some tips on how to take care of a senior dog.
Determining whether or not your dog can be considered “senior” depends on its breed. Usually, big breeds such as Great Danes age quicker as compared to small dog breeds. However, the care for all breeds will entail some of the tips below:
An old dog may have a different dietary requirement as compared to a younger dog. Therefore, try to give fresh and nutritious food instead of a packet diet, which is easier for senior dogs to digest. Moreover, if you think your dog needs supplements, ask your vet to suggest some. Also, make sure that your senior dog has a separate food bowl in easy access, so they don’t have to fight or compete for food, especially if you have more than one pet.
You may not know what health issues arise when a dog hits a certain age. Therefore, take your senior dog to a vet regularly to ensure adequate dog health. Once every six months is ideal for such visits. This way, your dog can get a body scan to check if everything is fine physically. Not only this, but frequent visits will also help you stay up to date with what you need to do make the coming years easier.
A senior dog will likely develop some muscle or joint issue as they age. This may mean your dog might not enjoy long walks or adventurous trips as they did before. However, this is not to say that your furry friend cannot enjoy short walks. In fact, making sure your senior dog gets some amount of exercise as it’s beneficial for maintaining its physical health. However, make sure to inform your vet for a better exercise plan according to their needs.
Your senior dog’s health may worsen if the accommodation you have provided is not up to par. Due to arthritis (a common issue in senior dogs), your dog may need soft bedding, special foams, etc. They may also need towels and more blankets to keep themselves comfortable. You may even have to set up ramps in your house, especially if your dog’s arthritis is extreme. Furthermore, you should make adjustments to their bedding and lounging areas according to the season so your dog is comfortable all through the year.
Even though a dog’s oral health should be taken care of throughout its life, it becomes even more important to do so as they age. This is because the chances of developing bleeding gums and other dental diseases increase in senior dogs. Therefore, make sure your clean and brush your dog’s teeth regularly. However, if you find it difficult, you may opt for dental treats upon your vet’s recommendation.
A senior dog may not have the same shiny coat as it once did in its youth. Therefore, make sure you take extra time and care to wash and brush it. This will help you avoid tangles and matted hair, which may be difficult to deal with if left unattended for a long time. Make sure you use gentle shampoos as you detangle their coat, making sure your dog’s skin is protected.
Besides their fur, a senior dog’s nails may grow quicker than younger dogs. They may also get extremely hard to clip. Therefore, make sure to seek professional help or clip them after you give them a bath, so they are soft and easy to snip.
If you face difficulty in grooming your senior pup regularly on your own, dog groomers can definitely help.
An old dog may develop incontinence and need more toilet breaks than usual. It may be due to health issues such as liver problems or diabetes. Therefore, you may want to rule those out first. However, frequent peeing may be a headache, especially if it’s inside your home. In extreme cases, you may have to invest in diapers or absorbent towels for your canine. However, it is not recommended to limit water intake because of incontinence as it may cause dehydration.
Finally, make sure to be easy on your senior dog. This is because your dog may lose its hearing or seeing ability as time progresses. If they doesn’t respond to your commands or their name, then chances are it cannot hear you. Thus, spend more time with them now and shower them with as much love as you can. This will allow you to make more memories and keep a closer eye on your pup’s health. Get them more interesting toys to play with and keep them busy with your playful activities.
Taking care of an old dog may be a difficult job for some dog parents. But dogs deserve to be loved and taken care of no matter what their age. But when it’s a senior dog, the love and care need to be a bit more since they are nearing the end of their life. The least one can do for them is provide support and good care, so they are comfortable and relaxed in their old age.