A senior dogs care requirements are very different from those of younger ones although it’s obvious the bigger question is how do you know when your dog should be considered a senior. Well it all depends on the individual breed generally big dogs age faster as compared to smaller breed dogs. Also genetics, nutrition, environment also play a role in how fast your dog ages.
Here are some tips on what you can do to help a senior dog.
- Vet Check Ups – Get regular veterinary checkups for your dog. These visits increase in importance as your dog grows older, as many diseases are hidden and not apparent. At the end of the day prevention is cheaper than treatment.
- High Quality Diet – As your dog grows older, he/she needs high quality and easily digestible nutrients. Talk to your veterinarian about a diet more suitable for aged dogs. Alternatively, there are plenty of commercial diets available for senior dogs. Your veterinarian can decide what your dog needs.
- Tooth Care – Brushing your dog’s teeth can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy and keep away tooth and gum decay. Dental diseases are common in aged dogs, so watch out for any signs like foul smelling breath, pawing at the mouth and difficulty in chewing.
- Exercise & Activity – Regular to moderate exercise will help keep your dog in good shape. Be sure not to overdo it though, since your dog doesn’t have as much energy as he/she did when young. If your senior is not used to exercise then better approach would be to start slow and increase the intensity gradually. Again do consult your Vet on this.
- Watch the Weight – Watch your dog’s weight. Overweight dogs have a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin disease, and even cancer. Again your Vet can help you decide the best food for your dog based on your dog’s individual assessment.
As your dog ages, he/she will look to you for help with things he/she could easily manage before. Be sure to treat your aging dog with love and patience, and schedule regular veterinary visits to avoid surprises.