As dogs age, it is natural for them to have less energy, develop hearing problems or cataracts, and start to suffer from deteriorated organ function - which means a higher risk of kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or obesity. Though our beloved canine companions may always be puppies in our eyes, the truth is that their senior years require lifestyle adjustments to help them enjoy the highest quality of life possible. With the right combination of attention and preventative care, you can extend the life and happiness of your dog with these 5 strategies. Take a look!
More Regular Teeth Cleanings
Many older dogs fail to get the proper dental care during their adult life that they require for a longer and healthier life, which is why some older dogs may have a few missing teeth or struggle to chew properly. Dental care is an important part of grooming and should be performed regularly from a young age, though it certainly requires a keener attention to detail once your puppy has achieved senior status. Consider brushing your dog's teeth every day or, if they resist the brushing, use dental treats and toys instead.
Frequent Exercise of Body and Mind
Much like us humans, a regular exercise regimen is key to ensuring long-term health and body function for your dog. You may notice that as they age, they start to have difficulty getting on the bed or doing other things that once were so easy. Start your dog on short, gentle walks to build stamina before making them endure anything more rigorous than that and be mindful of the fact that older dogs cannot accomplish the same physical feats they could as energy-packed pups. Furthermore, keep your dog's brain exercised with stimulating toys such as food puzzles.
Senior-Proof Your Home
Remember “puppy-proofing” your home all those years ago? Though their needs may be different, senior dogs require special accommodations as well. Older dogs commonly struggle to jump or climb as effectively, which is why doggy ramps or smaller staircases to make beds and couches more accessible are a great option for your home. Make sure their sources of food and water are easily accessible and for those older dogs starting to lose vision, do not change the regular layout of your home furniture, as it may confuse and hurt them.
Keep a Watchful Eye
Be sure to closely monitor any changes in behavior, appetite, weight, dental health, or body, such as bumps and lesions. It is not uncommon for older dogs to suffer through food issues, such as chewing problems or lack of appetite, which will require a change in diet. Consider keeping a diary to take careful notes regarding any changes to your pet as they grow older and bring these to the attention of your vet.
Visit your Vet Often
Speaking of the vet, it is more important than ever to keep your senior dog adherent to a regular schedule of veterinary visits. Many experts agree that once every six months is enough to make sure your dog is getting the care and attention that it deserves at an advanced age. Frequent check-ups with a veterinarian can catch ailments early, including arthritis or diabetes, so that you can treat it properly before it poses any significant threat.
Much like the humans that take care of them, dogs require a special degree of care as they grow older - but this extra love is precisely what they deserve after a long life of taking care of us. When you need professional help for your beloved pup, rely on the experts at Bayshore Animal Hospital to provide the incredible amount of attention and care that your pet deserves! Our mission is to serve you and your pets the way we would want to be served. Call us today to get your aging pet the best care available from leading Ormond Beach, FL veterinarians!