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How to Take Care of Senior and Older Dogs?
You are lucky enough to see your furry companion reach seniorhood. However, they need extra love and care as you witness them starting to slow down a little. Ageing in dogs is a slow and gradual process and begins with subtle behavioural and physical changes.
Taking care of your dog with the onset of the ageing process should include certain changes in dietary requirements, frequent health check-ups, etc. Keep reading to gain more insight into how to care for an old dog.
How to Take Care of Senior Dogs?
Dogs are considered to have reached seniorhood around 6 years, while geriatric dogs are around 10 years of age. The following ways help keep your dog healthy and happy:
1. Give Them a Balanced Diet
Pick an above-average protein diet for your elderly dog with below-average calories. Unlike their young and adult days when they enjoyed crispy dry food, now, give them soft and easy-to-chew food. They may be missing a tooth or two or may have other teeth-related issues and choose soft and fresh wet food.
2. Take Them for Semi-Annual Health Check-Ups
Now that your furry pal has reached seniorhood, it is crucial to visit the vet twice a year for wellness exams. This enables the establishment of baselines for your dog's health, ensuring diagnosis of clinically silent health issues as soon as possible.
3. Keep A Close Eye On Subtle Signs of Discomfort
Be observant of certain signs such as limping, difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty in changing positions, and lying down most of the time, even when eating or drinking. All these signs suggest that your dog needs a visit to the vet.
4. Introduce Supplements as Prescribed by the Vet
Vets may recommend certain supplements in addition to maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet. These may include fish oil, glucosamine, and/or probiotics. Regularly consuming these supplements may make a big difference in your dog's health. This can be given mixed in their food.
5. Focus on Their Dental Care
With ageing, dogs have increased risks of gum diseases and cracked teeth which are painful and serious conditions and require immediate vet attention. Take care of your dog’s teeth by brushing them with a finger brush and toothpaste for dogs. While brushing, if you notice swelling, bleeding, and pain, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately.
What Are the Signs of Old Age in Dogs?
Signs of old age in your dog may include:
- Reduced appetite
- Increased water intake (this may indicate diabetes, liver/kidney disease)
- Losing weight
- Lumps or bumps
- Increased tiredness (hypothyroidism)
- Exercise intolerance
- Dullness of coat
- Having trouble balancing or being disorientated
- Difficulty passing urine or faeces
What Are The Health Problems Related to Senior Dogs?
Following are the health problems that senior dogs may experience:
- Heart disease
- Urinary tract
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Dental issues
- Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD)
- Vision and hearing loss
What Is the Best Food for Senior Dogs?
Here is a list that includes the best food for senior dogs:
- Pedigree Senior Dry Dog Food- Chicken & Rice
- Parapet Chicken & Veg Adult Dog Food
- Drools Optimum Performance Adult Dog Food
- FARMINA N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Senior Dog Food
- Fidele Light and Senior Adult Dog Food
What Are the Tips to Take Care of an Elderly Dog?
Here are some tips on how to take care of an old dog:
- Parasite protection and vaccination
- Keep your senior dog active as much as possible
- Regular grooming
- Get a heated or an orthopaedic dog bed
- Get your dog’s blood work checked
- Try using a dog support sling
What Are Some Noteworthy Facts About Older Dogs?
Here are some noteworthy facts about senior dogs:
- They do not see or hear well enough
- They are more anxious about things and people around
- They get cold easily
- Their joints hurt
- They need extra care on grooming days
Ageing is a natural process, and all are vulnerable to it. Hence pet parents should stay prepared for it. The tips mentioned earlier and techniques help you with a clear idea of how to take care of an old dog and even ensure the overall well-being of dogs.