For a pet parent, “How can I keep my elderly dog healthy?” is a common question that often crosses the mind. When the dogs start aging, they lose their vitality, vigor, and energy. They are at increased risk of acquiring diseases and illnesses. They require much more attention and attentiveness compared to when they were middle-aged.
If you, too, are an anxious, bothered pet parent who wants to discover easy, fool-proof ways to help their old dog lead a pleasant, comfortable life, keep reading this comprehensive guide.
How Can I Get My Senior Dog To Stay Healthy?
Now we come to the most awaited part of this article, where we answer the much-anticipated question, “How can I keep my elderly dog healthy?” We have ten fundamental and easy-to-implement ways that will ensure not only your aging dog’s sanity but also yours.
Do your own research and consult your vet before you employ any of the methods. How you should implement the following steps depends on these factors:
- Other existing health conditions
An active lifestyle is of paramount importance in every stage of a dog’s life. Your dog wouldn’t be able to run, sprint or jump as fast as they used to during their young age. So, you have to engage them in different sets of exercises and skills that can help them lead an active lifestyle.
If your dog has physical limitations, plan a set of indoor exercises.
As long as their body is moving, blood will circulate properly, the risk of diabetes and obesity will reduce, joint flexibility will be encouraged, and a boost of mind will be guaranteed. Take them out for short walks in nature, invest in non-slipping surfaces where they can play, and practice low-impact exercises with them.
Keep your dog feeling more involved and mentally stimulated with plenty of mental activities. As dogs age, their senses do not remain as sharp and honed as they earlier used to be. Their cognitive abilities decline, and so does their quality of life.
Spend some time with your old buddy. Play games with them and exercise their mind appropriately. When they are in the stay position, hide one of their toys and encourage them to locate it through nose work. You can also teach them a balancing trick or play puzzles with them.
Being the social creatures they are, dogs survive and thrive on interaction. If you do not have the time to spend with them, enroll them in group sessions where they can make friends and interact with other canine buddies.
You can also get a new canine buddy for your senior friend whom they can play with when you are not around. A new pet buddy that makes your old dog happy can add years to your dog’s life.
If your dog’s eating environment is uncomfortable, they will reduce their food intake and develop neck strains and other health issues over time. The best way to tackle this is by elevating the bowl where you place their food and water.
An elevated bowl is closer to your dog’s mouth, and they do not have to lie down and eat—something that naturally messes them physically and gives them more reasons to remain inactive.
Just like adults, if you want to aid your dog’s health, include a couple of additional supplements in their diet. Digestive enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics, antioxidants, omega-3 fats, and vitamin C are the best-recommended supplements for every senior dog.
Because senior dogs are not as hungry as younger breeds, they end up depleting their body of all the essential nutrients. They can eat supplements to make up for this. Also, consider some exclusive supplements that cater to the dog’s joint problems. This may depend on the severity of their problems.
Dental Health Care
A few very basic signs that your dog requires oral care and dental check-ups are bad breath, plaque build-up, and changes in how your dog eats. Hasty chewing, drooling, loss of appetite, and dropping nibbles of food are common with aging dogs.
You can start by regularly brushing their teeth. Make sure to use dog-friendly toothpaste. Brush their teeth with soft bristles and gentle movements. If the dental condition deteriorates, your dog may also require dental surgery.
Canine rehabilitation or physical therapy is one way to keep your dogs more active and on their toes. You can opt for plenty of therapy options. You can give them gentle massages, hydrotherapy, heat therapy, acupuncture, and cold laser therapy.
Specific invasive treatment options can be harmful to your dogs. Going for a holistic, more natural method is a better option.
High-Quality Senior Dog Diet
A well-balanced and proper diet is crucial for a senior dog. Being prone to constipation and other digestive issues, older dogs tend to eat very little food. Consult your vet to know the suitable food options according to your dog’s breed.
Reach out to your vet to get a proper dietary chart planned out for your dog. Also, make sure to ask them how to make your dog throw up in case they ingest something unsuitable for their body.
Schedule A Vet Appointment
Sometimes, due to a lack of knowledge and expertise, you may not be able to determine if your dog has issues. So, consulting a vet and seeking professional help becomes very important, primarily when your dog has grown old.
A vet will help you identify your dog’s problems and health concerns. They can prescribe medications and therapy and provide timely treatment. They will also give you advice on your dog’s diet, daily routine, and exercise.
Love And Pamper
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it watching for us to come home each day.” – John Grogan
Dogs can get as emotional as humans if they lack attention and proper care. Their emotions significantly worsen as they grow up and start craving more and more of your time. The least you can do for your pet is to give them your time so that they do not feel alone.
You can indulge in many activities like taking them out for a stroll in the park, giving them gentle massages, cuddling with them, playing games with them both indoors and outdoors, and giving them their favorite healthy treats every once in a while.
What To Expect With An Aging Dog?
You and your dog may encounter plenty of aging dog issues as they near the last stages of their life. Before telling you about some fantastic ways to help your senior dog stay healthy, here is a list of things you should expect from an aging dog.
- As dogs get old, they also become more inactive. This leads to a gradual weight increase, which is one of the primary signs of an aging dog. Loss of mass due to old age can also lead to weight loss.
- Senior dogs are prone to degenerative diseases, which affect their spinal cord. They also develop joint problems and cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which are difficult to cure.
- You will see significant behavioral changes in your dog. They will become confused, unstable, less enthusiastic, respond slowly, stare at objects for a prolonged period, sleep more, and have less energy.
- Senior dogs face joint degeneration, the symptoms of which start showing over time. Although the signs show slowly, their mobility will reduce drastically.
- Aging dogs develop soft tissues in their body, which result in fatty lumps and bumps. These, although unharmful, can be confused with a malignant tumor.
- You may observe changes in sleeping cycles coupled with restlessness and anxiety.
- Some dogs start excessively barking as a result of aging and getting old.
We hope this article answers all your concerns and worries about taking care of and maintaining the good health of your aging dog.
As your dog ages, they will undergo many psychological and physical changes. These will only become more prominent and noticeable with time.
When they are going through so many substantial changes, they need your unwavering love, compassion, and support. So make sure to be there for them every step of the way.