Elderly dog care
Just like people, as your dog moves into their senior years it’s only natural that their needs and behaviour will change. This is why thinking about elderly dog care is important for an owner.
In this article, we will explore what may happen when your dog ages and how to take care of your dog in their senior years to help keep them happy and healthy.
As your dog gets older, you may notice that their habits change. For example, they need more rest than they used to, or their hearing or sight may seem less sharp than it was before. It’s also common to see your dog going to the toilet more frequently than they did in the past.
It’s important to take extra effort to provide a comfortable environment that caters to your older dog’s needs. Ensuring that access to food and water is easy and providing a comfortable bed for your dog are just some of the steps you can take to ensure that your dog is comfortable.
Read on for our elderly dog care tips!
Regular vet visits: It’s important to take your senior dog to see the vet regularly (twice a year at the very least). Even if your dog appears healthy to the untrained eye, a professional can usually diagnose hard-to-spot conditions before they become a problem. Your vet will be able to perform a full body evaluation to ensure everything is as it should be. Remember, it’s much better to reduce the risk of a condition than it is to treat it.
Dental care: After a long life of chewing and tearing food, your senior dog has a greater chance of having a dental condition. It is important that your vet checks your dog’s mouth for any sign of dental disease since it can not only be painful, but may also cause your dog to lose teeth too.
Diet: It’s important to feed your older dog (and dogs of any age) a high-quality diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition. One way you can do this is by ensuring you read the label on any dog food that you buy – look for food that is ‘complete and balanced’, like Bakers®. Keeping your dog at the right weight is also important since older dogs have a higher risk of developing conditions such as diabetes. Monitoring portion sizes is therefore especially important when feeding senior dogs.
Watch your dog eat: Since dental and digestive conditions are often seen more frequently in older dogs, it’s worth monitoring your dog as they eat. Are they struggling to eat? Are they eating less than usual? Just monitoring once every so often may help you spot a condition early, or give you useful information to pass on to your vet.
Avoid surprising noises: As your dog’s senses become less sharp in old age, you should try to avoid startling them. Loud bangs such as slamming doors or introducing your dog to unfamiliar situations may cause them to be more anxious or stressed than it did before.
Monitor uncharacteristic behaviour: If you see your dog behaving uncharacteristically for an extended period of time then it’s definitely worth seeing your vet to get it checked out. While this applies to dogs of any age, since elderly dogs are more vulnerable, it’s important to be investigate any potential condition quickly.
Accommodate their needs: It’s important to make sure that your older dog is comfortable as they move into old age. For example, buying a more comfortable bed for them or providing ramps so they can walk up the front steps more easily are things you can do to help make their old age more comfortable and is a key part of elderly dog care.
Exercise: While your older dog may not be as active as they used to be, it doesn’t mean that they still don’t need exercise. Taking your dog on walks is an important part of elderly dog care. If you can see that your dog becomes more tired than they used to, you can make the walks less strenuous by shortening the distance or reducing the pace. This way your older dog will still get exercise without being exhausted.