It is often said that while dogs are there for a portion of your life, you quickly become their whole life, and this is true. You can often see your dog slow down as they get older, and this can be a difficult thing to witness. Any good dog owner wants to ensure that their dog is happy and comfortable as it gets older, and this isn’t difficult to do; it simply requires a little extra consideration. Keep reading to learn more.
What to Expect As Your Dog Gets Older
Getting older is a natural part of life. Your dog is obviously going to start to slow down a little as it gets older. They simply require more thought and consideration. Their eyesight or hearing can decline, which means, if possible, you should try to encourage your family to avoid making sudden loud noises that could startle your dog, although, depending on the age of your family, this might be easier said than done. If your dog also seems to ignore you more often, it could be because their hearing has started to deteriorate.
They are often more reluctant or less able to walk and exercise than they have previously. This can mean that they put more weight on. Walking them little and often can help; if they aren’t going out as much, then you should also consider having their nails trimmed more regularly to avoid discomfort. Playing with toys, puzzles or other stimulating and enriching exercises can help to keep them entertained and mentally alert. Joint supplements can also help them with any stiffness that they might have.
It can also be difficult on the rest of the family, too. Your family will likely be worried about your dog as they age, which is why it’s important that you all come together and support each other. If your dog needs to go to the vet, ensure that it’s not just one of you going, as this could be difficult for them. If more of you go, then you will be able to support each other. It’s likely that the vet visits will increase in frequency as your dog gets older. While at the vet, you should maximize your time and get as much advice as possible to help your dog in the future.
As a dog gets older, their mobility is compromised. They might also experience more joint and muscle pain. It might even be worth looking into joint supplements for your dog, like the ones from Native Pet. This is why you need to take steps to try to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible. Most dogs already have a dog bed, but having a few softer places for your dogs to rest is important. Try to put them in warmer, cozier places away from any draughts.
Some older dogs also need to go to the toilet more often. This might mean being more vigilant to make sure that there aren’t any accidents to clean up. If you think that your dog might be a little incontinent or if there are any other changes in your dog’s toilet habits, it might be worth consulting your vet just to make sure that there aren’t any other underlying causes to be concerned about. If you have been told about any underlying issues, then you should ensure these concerns are addressed early and managed effectively.
It also makes sense for you to try and ensure that everything your dog needs is going to be accessible to them. They might not want to venture too far. As their mobility level changes, it might also be worth exploring options like raised food and water bowls to make sure that they don’t have to strain their necks leaning down to them. Lastly, smoother surfaces like wooden or tiled floors can be harder for your older dog to traverse. They often need a surface with more grip, so putting down a carpet or a rug can help them to get about more easily.
As your dog ages, their dietary and nutritional needs start to shift and change. Of course, this will vary depending on the breed or the size of your dog, but it is something that you will need to be aware of. If you feed your dog a conventional commercial diet, then as they age, it might make sense to switch them to a food specifically designed for senior dogs. If you aren’t sure where to start, it might be worth consulting with your vet to work out when to make the switch and whether they have any recommended foods for you to try.
You should also begin to monitor their food and water intake. Any significant changes should be reported to your vet, as should dramatic weight fluctuations. This is because there could be an underlying medical cause which will need to be investigated and treated. If you have more than one dog, it would also make sense to watch them at mealtimes, sometimes, younger dogs can be more boisterous, and they end up getting in the way or getting to the food first, which can put your senior dog off of eating. It can become a competition which is something that you will need to watch out for.
A lot of pet owners dread the day that they can tell that their pet has gotten older. It seems to happen suddenly; one day, your dog is running around, wild, and free as they always have; the next, they are slow and sluggish, their muzzles turning gray and their faces a little droopier. Your dog is going to get older. This cannot be avoided. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that you are tailoring their care to their needs, ensuring that they are comfortable and happy as they enter their twilight years. Ensure you consult your dog’s vet to get as much relevant advice as possible.