No matter their age, dogs are amazing pets. From bouncing puppies to napping seniors, they all deserve love and care. Unfortunately, most dogs are considered seniors when they’re around 7 or 8 years old. When they reach this age, they slow down, they eat less (usually), sleep more, and are more prone to health problems and injuries.
During these golden years, most dog owners try to find ways to keep their dogs fit so that they can prolong their life. Although the saying, “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks” is a bit true, it doesn’t mean that your dog won’t benefit from the new methods that you can try to implement to keep them healthy.
Here are some tips to help you find the right routine for your older pup.
Keeping your dogs active during their senior years through regular exercise and playtime will keep them fit and strong. Moreover, it will prevent your dogs from being overweight, which is a huge problem for senior dogs. Their aging legs and hips aren’t designed to carry around that much weight!
However, you shouldn’t overdo it. Break up activities bit by bit throughout the day to avoid overfatigue and strain. For example, instead of making your dog do one long walk during the day, you can consider giving them several shorter walks.
This will give them the rest that they need during the day — and senior dogs need plenty of it! They generally sleep 12-14 hours a day, if not more. Also, you need to make sure that your dog has access to fresh water during these rest periods so that they can recover their lost energy much quicker.
You should always remember that your senior dog is more prone to injuries and pain caused by various health issues. This will make it more difficult for your dog to move around. They can be stiff, slow moving, or limping after they get up. This is normal for older dogs, but if the behaviors continue, take them to your vet.
For at home care, you can install ramps to help your dog get up on the bed or couch. It is also important to ensure that your dog doesn’t get injured from slippery floors and other obstacles, so lay down some rugs or keep them out of specific rooms that may be more harmful to their health, such as a kid’s playroom with toys all over the floor.
We also highly recommend giving your dogs a dog ACL brace for a little extra support. These braces are designed to relieve pain and prevent injury by comfortably restricting motion. They make it hard for your dog to move in a way that can cause injury, while helping take weight off their knee, ankle, and hip.
Doing this will give them the protection that they need from accidents that may occur due to their old age and fragile bones.
As your pet grows older, his or her dietary requirement will change. It is critical that you give your dog the appropriate food that they need to remain fit and healthy. In the US, approximately 40-45% of dogs aged 5-11 years old are overweight.
You have to remember that as your pet ages they tend to become less active than they were before. This will make it more difficult for them to burn the calories. Additionally, their metabolism naturally begins to slow down too. They don’t need to burn through fat and protein like they used to, after all. .
Consulting with your veterinarian can help you in selecting the right diet for your aging dog. This will not only help your pet manage his weight but will also enable you to control and manage the disease and illness that comes with your dog’s old age. If you’re doing your own research, look for something that’s low calorie and high in moisture and protein.
As stated earlier, your dogs need all the rest that they can get as they grow older. Providing them the things that they need like a soft cushion and comfortable blanket will help your older dogs sleep better and rest easier.
In addition to that, making your dogs comfortable when they sleep will help them with their aging joints and increase their blood circulation which is perfect for taking care of dogs with arthritis. The more comfortable they are, the less likely they’ll be stiff or in pain when they wake up. It’s the least you can do to show your dog you care!
Finally, make sure that your dogs have regular checkups by your veterinarian so that you can monitor their health and quickly discover any developing issues that may impact your pet’s life and comfort. This is an important task that you need to perform when taking care of your senior dog.
In fact, the majority of veterinarians recommend having older dogs examined at least twice a year and more so if your pet is suffering from health problems.
Dogs are not only our best friends but they are part of our family. Knowing how to take care of them during their old age will not only prolong their life but it will also give us the opportunity to show them how much we care and value their companionship.