How to Care for Senior Dog

Updated: February 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm, Author: Alice

Any individual who is planning to get a pet dog knows that they can be a huge responsibility, and will require care and attention. It is not a surprise to any one, and people even liken it to having an offspring. But what catches first time pet owners off guard is the fact that dogs will have different care requirements when they grow to their senior years.

While different breeds will undergo specific physical and behavioral changes upon aging, there are a few general principles that you can keep in mind if you want to ensure that your senior dog’s needs is taken care of:

Deciding If Your Dog is a Senior

Grey dog head

It helps to first know whether your dog is already considered a senior dog or not. Age is not the sole determining factor, but a good starting point is their size. Small breed dogs tend to have slower body clocks than giant breed dogs. A chihuahua would be considered senior at age 10-11, while a great dane is already a senior at 5 to 6. Additionally, the aging factor is also affected by nutrition, genetics, and environment.

Once you’ve decided on whether your dog is a senior, you can help improve his care by the following:

Visit the Vet Regularly

This is the most important and the best way to ensure that you dog will get the proper care he needs. This will help catch any potential health issues and possibly address them before they exacerbate, and the vet will most likely have recommendations that are specifically suited for your pet.

Mind the Dog’s Diet

Make sure you are not feeding your dog willy-nilly. Dogs are already sensitive to improper diet. A senior dog even more so. Make sure to pay close attention to what you are feeding your dog, and if you don’t read the labels of dog food, now is the time to start. You can also give them chicken breast jerky as it is a healthy treat.

Keep Your Dog at His Ideal Body Weight

Like humans, dogs that are overweight are prone to wide variety of diseases such as diabetes, skin diseases, heart problems, and even cancer. You can greatly increase your dog’s chances of avoiding these crippling diseases by ensuring that he is always in a healthy weight. Make sure you consult the vet on the ideal body weight of your dog, and from there you can modify his diet and ensure regular walks and exercise to keep him fit. This comes with the bonus that you will probably get in shape as well just by walking or jogging with your dog.

Fortify the Dog’s Diet with DHA and EPA

It can be difficult for pet owners to micromanage their pet’s food, but it will help your dog address mobility issues such as arthritis or joint diseases if he eats a diet bolstered with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. Other beneficial supplements to be considered include glucosamine and chondroitin.

Don’t Forget Dental Hygiene

Dogs become more susceptible to health problems resulting from poor dental hygine when they get to senior age, mostly because of their immune system already weakening. So always brush their teeth, or if it is not possible, keep him supplied with dental treats and toys meant to keep teeth clean.

Finally, Don’t Skimp on the TLC

Keeping your dog stress-free will help prevent many health problems so make sure you are never neglecting your dog. Always make him feel that you are around and that he is loved. Stress will affect the immune system, and it is proven that a happy dog is less prone to sickness.

You can also read about Bully Sticks and Keeping Your Dog Healthy.

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