Just like humans, dogs will experience some changes as they get older. Some older dogs will become more prone to certain diseases, while others might be healthy but noticeably less active than they used to be. Depending on your dog’s overall health and breed, you may need to keep a closer eye on them for the tell-tale signs of issues like arthritis or heart disease, which tend to be common in older dogs. Thankfully, understanding your dog and their changing needs as they age will put you in a good position to ensure that they are able to live out their golden years in health and happiness. We’ve put together some top tips to help you keep your elderly dog healthy and happy.
Watch Their Weight:
Generally speaking, older dogs tend to be less active and therefore require fewer calories than younger dogs to stay full and get the nutrients that they need. So, it’s important to watch your dog’s weight and change their diet if needed to help them avoid putting extra weight on. Being overweight can put pressure on the joints which can increase a dog’s risk of arthritis, in addition to making them more susceptible to other obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Bella and Duke provide senior raw dog food that’sdesigned to give your older dog all the nutrients they need as they age. Try this raw dog food for seniors from Bella and Duke with handy, pre-prepared meals that you can simply freeze and serve with no need to worry about measuring it out.
While your older dog might not be running around the park after a ball as they once did, it’s still important to make sure that they stay active and mobile. Old dogs tend to get tired more easily and might not require long walks anymore, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be encouraged to stay active. Short, gentle walks are ideal for older dogs and you can even try taking them to a facility for swimming, which is often gentler on the joints while still providing your dog will an excellent way to get the exercise that they need.
As your dog gets older, he might need some more supplements in his diet to help him stay happy and healthy. Glucosamine supplements are ideal for relieving pain and stiffness in arthritic dogs and can easily be added to their food. You can purchase these supplements online from reputable pet stores or have them prescribed by your vet. Another good supplement that you can purchase to give to your dog in capsule form is turmeric; this spice can also be added to your dog’s food for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Dog massage can be a fun way to bond with your four-legged friend and has a lot of benefits for an older dog, including stress relief and lengthening of tight muscles, which can aid with muscle function and improve the range of motion. Massages can also help your dog feel happier and closer to you as their special human, which is especially important if your dog seems rather depressed these days because he is not as mobile or active or can no longer play as much with other pets.
Invest in a Good Harness:
A good harness designed for dogs with reduced mobility can be more comfortable for them to wear than a regular harness or a collar and lead; it can also reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Consider a harness that comes with handles that you can use to assist your dog with navigating areas that might be trickier for them as they get older, such as steps and stiles. Just like humans, older dogs are more prone to injuries from trips and falls and are more likely to suffer from dislocated joints or broken bones.
Consider Your Dog’s Vision:
Most people will agree that our own vision isn’t what it used to be as we get older and the same could be said for your dog. As your dog ages, it’s likely that they will no longer be able to see as well, so it’s important to be aware of this so that you can help your dog out wherever possible. Outdoor lights can be handy if your dog tends to hesitate when going outside at night because they cannot see where they are going. If your dog is suddenly struggling to go down the stairs or is more hesitant to go outside in the dark, this could be a sign that their vision is starting to suffer. You can help by providing them with a well-lit area.
As your dog gets older, you will notice that there are likely to be some changes to their personality, lifestyle, and needs. Meeting your dog’s needs as they age ensures a healthy, happy pet.