Let’s Help Our Senior Dogs Live Longer
3 September, 2013

As our dogs get older, they need to be treated with extra care, attention and love.  While you might not have visited the Vet much in your dog’s younger years, it’s time to really start paying attention to your dog and his or her behavior.  Our older dogs don’t bounce back like puppies and need that extra care in all aspects of their lives.

If you notice your dog losing weight, there could be an issue such as dental problems, kidney disease, liver disease or something else entirely.  Or maybe your dog has gained weight.  Some dogs will become less active with age, essentially becoming couch potatoes, and will gain weight as a result.  And, with age, our dogs can become arthritic which leads to lethargy and weight gain.

Below are some recommendations to help your senior dog:

Make sure to visit your Veterinarian

Your dog needs to be examined at least once a year if he or she seems healthy as many diseases are hidden and not apparent.  Remember it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it.   Make sure to ask that your Vet evaluate if your senior dog is overweight, underweight, or at an ideal body weight.  Ask your veterinarian to show you how to evaluate your dog’s body condition at home.

 

Feed your older dog a high quality diet dog food

Make sure to feed your senor dog a high quality dog good to keep him or her healthy and at the correct weight. Overweight dogs have a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin disease, even cancer. Your veterinarian can help you choose an appropriate diet for your dog.  A diet with a carefully chosen carbohydrate and protein blend can also help keep your overweight dog feeling satiated.

Your dog might need a specific type of senior dog food

Consider a special diet if your older dog has heart or kidney disease. For example, diets lower in sodium are sometimes advocated for dogs with heart disease, while diets which help control phosphorus, calcium and other electrolyte levels are given to dogs with kidney disease. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best food for your dog based on your dog’s individual situation.

Brush your dog’s teeth and have the vet examine them.

Brushing your dog’s teeth can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy. If you cannot brush them, there are dental treats on the market and toys that help keep the teeth clean.

Make sure to exercise your senior dog

As in humans, it is important to make sure your older dogs get exercise to keep him lean and maintain healthy joints and muscles. Each dog is different and you should make sure that your dog’s exercise needs to his individual requirements.  If your senior pup is not used to exercise, it is best to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity (only after you’ve visited your veterinarian).

Provide plenty of toys to keep your senior dog occupied.  Just because your dog is older doesn’t mean that he isn’t interested in toys or games!

Pay attention to your dogs special needs

As senior dogs get older and the joints are tender, you might need to provide a special ramp or stairs for them.  Or maybe a special blanket or pillows can help them sleep more comfortably.  As you watch and observe your dogs, you will know what they need.

With a lot of love, care and attention, your dog can thrive in his senior years.

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