As dog’s age, they become less active than they used to be during their younger years. But despite this setback, senior dogs still have lots of unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, and personality to give us. In addition, senior dogs suffer from fewer behavioral problems, require less exercise, and are already potty trained. All these reasons make them more adaptable than younger dogs. It’s, therefore, unfortunate to see these dogs being overlooked at shelters and rescues in favor of the energetic, bouncy puppies.
If it’s your first time fostering or adopting a senior dog, remember that dogs in their golden ages have special needs. Knowing these needs will go along way in helping you care for them properly. Here are some useful tips to help you get started.
Take Your Senior Dog To The Vet At Least Twice A Year
People with younger dogs usually take their pets to the vet once a year for a general medical checkup. However, since older dogs tend to suffer more from more medical problems, it’s in their best interest to be checked more regularly by the vet. This means that you should step up your appointments to two or three times per year.
These appointments include routine checks, dental care, additional blood tests, and other exams. This can help to catch health issues often encountered by seniors early before they become impossible to treat.
Rule Out Underlying Medical Problems If Your Dog Is Suffering From Behavioral Problems
As we’ve already mentioned in the introduction, one of the advantages of adopting senior dogs is that they’re less likely to suffer from behavioral issues associated with younger dogs. These issues can be anything from excessive chewing, non-stop barking to digging. However, this doesn’t mean seniors don’t experience behavioral issues.
So, before you discipline your aging pet for suddenly chewing your shoes or barking non-stop, you should first take him to the vet to be properly checked. It could be an early sign of an underlying medical problem. Catching the problem early and treating it professionally will make a huge difference in his overall health and life.
Watch What a Senior Dog Eats Closely
Aging comes with its fair share of problems for our beloved dogs. One of them is dental problems which may make it difficult for your senior dog to chew that kibble that he loves so much. Because of this, you should keep a close eye on him while he eats. If you notice that he’s having trouble chewing, you should consider switching to different foods that he can eat easily.
The problem with digestion is also common among seniors. But luckily, there are foods specifically designed for them, which are made with ingredients that are much easier to digest. Some foods for seniors even have supplements that greatly help to improve symptoms associated with old age.
Monitor a Senior Dogs Physical Activity Closely
Mental stimulation and physical exercises are good for all dogs. In seniors, for instance, regular exercise helps to prevent them from becoming overweight and keeps them mobile for longer. However, your senior canine companion may not be able to handle long and rigorous exercises that he used to do in his younger years. So, the key is to do short, gentle exercises regularly. Be careful not to push your dog too far as this might lead to injuries and joint problems.
Prevent Internal and External Parasites
Just like humans, and dogs have a weaker immune system. This means that they have a greater risk of getting diseases caused by internal and external parasites like worms, ticks, fleas among others. So speak to your vet about how you can prevent these parasites safely.
Senior Dog Proof Your Home
You should also consider making adjustments in your home to keep your aging dog safe. For instance, if he’s having trouble climbing the stairs because of joint problems, you should keep his toys, bed, food, and water downstairs. Also, monitor his time outdoors whenever you can. This is important because seniors are more susceptible to temperature changes and less capable of warding off potential threats.
Your pet may also suffer from hearing loss, inability to walk, blindness, and other disabilities due to old age. If this happens, ask your vet about the special adjustments you should make in your home to ease his experience.
Embrace Every Day
Lastly, you should enjoy your senior dog’s companionship one day at a time. Go for walks, cuddle up while watching TV, and just enjoy life with him. Stop worrying about what will happen when he dies or gets sick. Appreciate every moment you have with your pet and live in the moment.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to take better care of your senior dog from now on.