As your dog grows older, they become slower, always look haggard, and they suffer conditions, such as dementia and arthritis. Taking care of such a dog might seem like a tough task, but you can do it with a little care. You want to make the dog as comfortable as possible and treat any illnesses to give the aging dog a better life. Below are some tips to help guide you in caring for your aging dog.
Do Not Skip the Vet Appointments
You need to visit the vet without skipping. This will help detect health complications before they cripple the aging dog. The vet can observe your dog and notice any changes from the last appointment. If your dog already has health challenges, such as arthritis, it is even more important that you do not skip the vet’s appointment. During the visit, the vet will exercise the dog to relieve the pain in the joints. They may also administer pet bounce to keep the dog comfortable or recommend a back brace for dogs to correct back problems in older dogs.
Protect Them from Extreme Temperatures
Dogs love to play, but as they get older, their level of activity reduces. An older dog is more sensitive to temperature changes, so you need to keep it as comfortable as possible. In summer, create a routine that ensures the dog is not exposed to so much sun. You can walk the dog early in the morning or late in the evening.
When winter kicks in, ensure your older dog has a snug hoodie or a warm blanket to keep it healthy.
Give the Dog Age-Appropriate Diet
Older dogs have a weak digestive system. As such, the dog may not be able to handle the same diet it has had for a long time. Consult your vet when it comes to diet so that you can choose something that your older dog will find easy to digest.
Again, your older dog should not gain so much weight as this will be a burden to the weak bones. It should also not lose weight. At all times, ensure the dog has access to clean water to avoid dehydration. The vet might recommend supplements to keep the senior dog healthy.
Provide Comfortable Beddings and Surroundings
Your senior dog will sleep more as its level of activity reduces. As such, you need to provide it with soft blankets and a comfortable bed for its weak bones. If the dog already has arthritis and other common old dog problems, you can choose to buy special orthopedic beds. If the dog needs to access the couch, ensure they have stairs to make the climb easy.
Because the old dog may suffer from dementia, you need to keep the surroundings as familiar as possible. This way, the dog will not struggle to find its way to the food or bed areas. You also need to keep an eye on the behavior of the dog to identify any challenges it might be facing.
Stimulate the Dog Mentally
Although the dog will be unable to handle strenuous activities, you still need to keep playing with them. You need to provide fun games to keep them engaged, but reduce the range of motion. Different games stimulate the growth of new cells and delay aging.
You also need to walk the dog as you have always done. If the dog has challenges making the same distance, you can change the path to walk less, but never skip walking unless the dog can’t do it. Walking is one of the simplest ways to exercise an aging dog. Being outside stimulates the mind of the aging dog.
Consider Changing the Grooming Routine
Grooming should keep a senior dog as comfortable as possible. For instance, a dog with fluffy fur will be more comfortable getting a close trim when summer comes. In winter, a dog with a thin coat will be comfortable in a hoodie and thicker blanket. Trim the nails as long nails can be hazardous to a dog with limited mobility. Ensure that you trim the hair in between the paws of the dog to keep it stable on tiles and sliding floors.
You should love a senior dog as much as you have always loved it. A dog, like humans, feels better when it is loved and when it looks better.
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