How to Care for Your Senior Dog
Because of improved healthcare, veterinarian care, better eating and exercising habits, “man” and dog are living longer now than any other period of time. And although that’s a good thing, like “man”, man’s best friend develops special needs and health issues as they age.
As most of us know, a dog ages faster than humans. Many people think that 7 years of a dog’s life is equal to 1 human year. Although there is no exact formula that can convert the age ratio, it is around 7 years for general calculation. And it’s interesting to note that larger dog breeds typically have a shorter life span.
When Your Dog Becomes a Senior Citizen
Although many dogs age well and don’t show any signs of medical issues related to aging, other dogs may have a different experience.
- Probably one of the most common signs of aging is lack of interest in activity and being easily tired. Although they may still enjoy being outside, long walks aren’t as important to them as they once were. Nevertheless, exercise should not be neglected, short walks are better than no walks.
- Be vigilant in keeping your dog at the proper weight to help prevent such problems as heart disease, diabetes or even cancer. One of the best ways to do this would be to feed your dog good quality food. You may want to ask your vet for a recommendation.
- Along with a proper diet, dietary supplements could be very helpful, especially glucosamine with condroitin if your dog has developed arthritis
- Because older dogs become less active, to keep them from getting bored, have a nice variety of toys available to keep their attention and give them something to be entertained by.
- As they age, many dogs develop arthritis which makes it difficult for them to move about and get up and down. Cesar Millan, the famous dog trainer says that at this point in their life it’s absolutely acceptable to pamper your dog and bring their food to them rather than making them get up and go into the kitchen.
- Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is very important, which means daily brushing. Watch your dog as he/she eats, if they seem to be having difficulties, they may have dental problems such as gingivitis that you’ll need to have addressed by your veterinarian.
- If your dog seems to become confused, fearful of things they haven’t always been, or starts having “accidents” in the house, they could be developing a type of dysfunction similar to Alzheimer’s.
If your dog starts exhibiting some of these symptoms or any others that are out of the norm, it’s time to visit your vet. Having twice a year check-ups will help keep your dog in good health during the “golden years”. Your dog has been your best friend his whole life, as he ages, you can be his by caring for his special needs.