Your dog is your most loyal companion and it is our duty to be there for them through and thick. As our pooches age, they go through a lot of bodily changes and need some extra care and love during the later stage of their life. If you have an older dog or are planning to adopt one then here are some crucial tips on how to care for senior dogs and support your pooches when they need us the most.
Tips on how to care for senior dogs:
Taking care of a senior dog may look like a daunting task but it is as normal as taking care of an older human being. With a little attention, dedication and love, your senior dog will thrive in his old age and lead a happy life. Here are some simple things to remember for the same.
Eyesight might get weak
Photo by Helena Lopes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-dog-2027104/
What happens a lot of times is when our dogs get older, the first thing that changes is their eyesight. Some dogs, not all, have difficulty seeing things – be it their toys, food or objects in the house/outside. So one of the main things while taking care for senior dogs is to make sure there are no sharp edges or objects lying around that may injure them. They will also be a little slow during their walks and might depend on you for guidance. Be there for them. You might also have to help them eat. It will be like taking care of your baby. You can also create a huge pen-like zone for them as they won’t be moving around a lot. So creating a comfort-zone of sorts with all their stuff in one area might help reduce the risk of mishaps.
As your dog ages, his agility takes a toll as his joints and bones become increasingly weak. He may also get tired very easily or not want to go for long walks like before. The best solution for this is to make things easily accessible for him in the house. Get a ramp for him to climb on the bed or get a special orthopedic bed that supports his bones and joints and is low lying. Giving him supplements for his bones is also important. Do consult his vet for the same and include specific supplements that enhance his muscle/bone strength. Keeping a check on his weight might become crucial at this stage if you don’t want to put pressure on his joints and muscles.
This one is common for both humans and dogs. Losing bladder control is a huge part of getting old and small things can make it not so daunting and problematic. Taking them for frequent pee breaks just like the old days, when they were puppies, helps them relieve themselves and not pee at home. You can also use dog diapers or pee pads and place them in accessible areas so they can go pee there and not create a mess. There are sprays that keep the pee smell at bay and you can surely use them frequently to eliminate the odor. It would also help if you have a big lawn or garden and a doggie door for them to leave as and when they please.
Keeping a balanced and healthy diet
Diet is a huge part of a regime when you have to care for a senior dog. Senior dogs tend to gain weight and become obese easily because of the lack of exercise. So it is important that you provide them with low calorie food with supplements that enhance their bodily functions. You can also ask the vet to prescribe special food meant for senior dogs as that takes care of all the needs and keeps the weight in check. Giving omega 3 fatty acids as per the vet’s prescription can be beneficial for the joints/bones, eye sight, skin and fur too.
Your senior dog’s mental health
Dogs, just like humans, go through mental health issues during their old age. Be it memory loss, depression or stress, they feel it all. It is important to be patient with your pets and make them feel loved and cared for. Older dogs tend to get used to their daily rituals and disturbing that can lead to a lot of stress so keep in mind to not make drastic changes to their routine. Doing so might stress them out and that might lead to falling sick.
Regular vet appointments
One of the major pointers to keep in mind while you care for senior dogs is to take them for regular health checkups and vet appointments. Chances are, your dog might have some underlying issues that may get labeled as being old and tired and that can be dangerous. Regular checks can help you understand your dog’s health in a better way and support his lifestyle accordingly. And this also eliminates the chance of escalated or late diagnosis of illnesses.
With age, your dogs become lethargic and avoid going out or playing a lot. This might lead to a variety of problems like obesity, pain in the joints/bones and other ailments. To avoid all of this, we recommend going for planned walks or including exercises that aren’t too harsh on his limbs but also keep him active. Exercise is also good mental health and keeps their spirits alive. Meeting other senior dogs and enjoying some time at the park might actually become the highlight of his day if done appropriately.
Shower them with loads of love
I cannot stress enough on this point as this is one of the most crucial points out there. Your senior dogs deserve all the happiness and love in the world. Love and pamper them with all your might because they are still your babies and you should make the most of their time left with you. Many senior dogs have showcased such good progress after being adopted and showered with love that it has increased their life expectancy by leaps and bounds.
Truth be told, caring for senior dogs is quite easy because they don’t need a lot of fussing around, do not destroy your furniture and belongings and have a peaceful and calm demeanor all the time. If you take care of all these steps on how to care for senior dogs, chances are, you might have a smooth sailing journey with them and make things memorable for the both of you. If you are planning to rescue one then be rest assured, your going to love this journey and make a huge difference in a dog’s life.