Furballs may have shorter lives than we hoomans do, with dogs hitting their senior years at seven to 10 years, but they make up for it in tons of lovin’. Make sure your pawsome pals get the best last few years of their lives by giving them the kind of care they deserve.
Older dogs’ metabolisms naturally slow down as they become less active, which means they keep on more weight than the ideal. The extra weight will put a strain on your furpal’s spine, joints, and internal organs, so make sure he’s as lean as can be. Keeping senior dogs at normal weight can even help extend their life by a year or two!
Keep ‘em movin’.
Just because they’re aged doesn’t give them the excuse to leisurely lounge around all day. In fact, regular exercise will help keep muscles from atrophy and dogs healthy and fit. However, limit their outdoor ventures at a minimum, and at a slow, easy pace.
What’s Up, Doc?
As illnesses tend to appear in older dogs, experts suggest getting fur-granny and fur-gramps checked up more often–every six months–instead of the usual annual visit. Get the usual geriatric panel such as blood screening to help keep abreast of his state of health. This helps catch any illnesses at the onset so that they can be treated before they get any worse.
Some dog food brands just aren’t as healthy for dogs as others. Keep your canine healthy with food packed with nutrients to aide his aging body. Even though higher quality meals can be more expensive than low quality ones, you’ll be saving a lot more on vet bills–and the emotional stress that an ailing dog brings. Nutritious munchies can spell the difference between a sickly dog and a healthy one. Plus, healthier food can help delay the signs of aging and often come packed with additional vitamins and nutrients. Keep them away from table scraps or human food. Raw diets should also be reviewed and approved by your vet.
Pamper the pooch.
Just like hoomins, older dogs are also prone to illnesses such as arthritis, which can make lying on the floor painful for them. Create a comfy corner with soft beddings for your furball to call his own. Throw in routine massages to make your pet feel extra loved. Caressing Fido also serves another purpose–it will help keep you updated on your baby’s body, so you can watch out for any unusual bumps. While older dogs are prone to new growths and skin tags, make sure to have your vet take a look, to rule out serious illnesses.
On Your Toes, Johnny!
Help slow down senility by keeping your dog engaged. Continue interacting with him, and help excite his mind through puzzles and tricks. Daily outdoor visits also keep the mind stimulated and engaged.
Some canines may lose their eyesight or hearing, so make sure to clear his usual paths of any obstacles to keep him from getting hurt. Pets are good at remembering their way around even as they go blind, so when redecorating, renovating or moving furniture around, make sure to re-orient him so that he doesn’t get confused and bump into things.
Clean those chompers.
Make sure your four-legged friend keeps excellent dental hygiene by brushing his teeth with canine-safe toothpaste. This will help keep tartar and plaque build-up at bay, preventing cavities that could lead to other illnesses that may affect the major organs.
Use these handy tips in caring for your geriatric buddy and they’ll love you even more for the extra love and care–if that’s even possible.
PHOTO: GIFS: Giphy