Respecting Your Elders: Taking Special Care of Your Senior Dog

October 20, 2017

senior dog care

Give Special Care to a Loving, Senior Dog

Adopting a puppy and watching it grow up is a common choice for many families. That puppy will eventually make it to the senior years. In fact, a seven-year-old dog is considered a senior, but they can live to 15 years and beyond with the right care. Families who want to see their dog thrive well into its second decade should pay careful attention to their habits around the pet. By prioritizing the senior dog’s care, a long life is the pathway ahead.

Try Premium Food

Walk down any dog-food aisle to discover dozens of brands with various ingredients. Prices vary considerably too. As a dog ages, their diet becomes even more important than before. Look for brands that offer no fillers, grain-free mixtures and prioritize meat. Dogs are carnivores so their bodies are designed to consume meat. Filling senior pups with grains will only harm them over time.

Ask a local kennel about their food selections if the choices are too numerous at the store. The professionals can guide a purchasing decision. Be aware that premium food will cost more than the budget-friendly types, but families are rewarded with a healthy dog that lives many more years.

Get Active

Families who allow their senior dogs to rest all day without any activity will shorten the pets’ lives. Senior pets still need walks and playtime. There might be a slower pace than when the dog was a puppy, but the activity preserves the cardiovascular system while forcing oxygen to every tissue.

If a family is looking forward to a vacation in the near future, dog boarding is a service to consider. During dog daycare and the overnight hours, the pup is exposed to healthy games and socialization. They’ll receive the activity that they need until the family returns.

Be Observant

It’s common for pet owners to blame old age on certain behaviors. When a family or dog daycare professional notices a specific change, bring up this fact with the veterinarian. An underlying cause may be at play, such as a developing ailment. Ignoring any significant changes to the animal’s behavior can result in health problems down the road. In essence, older dogs should have the same personality as their younger years. They may slow down a bit as they run through their Lakewood yard, but dramatic changes are a sign of something that requires attention.

Think Buddies

Dogs are social animals. They don’t thrive well when they’re isolated. Keep this fact in mind when the family decides on another pet. A young dog or even a kitten might be a good fit for the entire household. Both animals can play and comfort one another on a daily basis. Studies have shown that dogs tend to live longer with a buddy in the house compared to a single-animal household. Because some dogs may be more aggressive than others, arrange a meeting between the pets before any adoption is completed. Families want good chemistry between the pets instead of constant battles.

Remember to Brush

Families who attend a quality, dog training course learn all about health-related needs. Oral health is incredibly important because any decline within the gums or teeth directly impacts the rest of the dog’s body. Cardiovascular issues might develop in the senior pet when a family doesn’t brush its teeth on a regular basis.

Pick up dog toothpaste with enzymatic power. Most toothpastes come in attractive flavors, such as chicken, so that the brushing action is pleasing to the pet. A fresh mouth contributes to a long life for any senior dog.

Don’t Forgo the Vet Visit

Senior dogs have all of their shots, and aging is mainly a maintenance issue. However, don’t cross off the vet from the to-do list. Visit the vet twice a year so that basic checkups are completed. Blood work and evaluations tell a family if a pet is healthy or heading toward a health issue. Catching any problem early on can mean the difference between a cure or chronic ailment.

Prioritize Comfort

Senior dogs have aches just like human beings. Look for orthopedic beds designed for dogs, especially with a lot of padding. Verify that the bed has a wide opening for easy access. Families can always add more blankets and pillows as necessary. The comforting bed allows the dog to rest peacefully until they’re ready to play again. Withholding a comfortable spot can lead to further decline on a physical level.

Alter the Surroundings

Physical aging does take a toll on any senior dog. If the house is full of stairs that are difficult for an arthritic dog, install a ramp or other system. Simply alter the surroundings so that the pet can still enjoy life. When a family isn’t sure about certain alterations, visiting a kennel with those questions is a smart choice. The experts can suggest certain changes that please the dog while keeping it safe at the same time.

Explore New Activities

Dogs are extremely intelligent, and this fact doesn’t have to dull as the pet ages. Try new activities with the dog, such as fetching a particular toy. This stimulation creates new pathways in the dog’s brain, which leads to enhanced alertness. Attend a dog training class in Golden so that the family learns how to communicate these new activities to the pet. By learning something new on a frequent basis, the dog’s mind remains exercised like a strong muscle.

When families have questions about their senior pet, seek out the help of a dog boarding facility. Professionals at the facility will have intimate knowledge of the best care for these amazing animals. Whether families live in Golden or Lakewood, their senior pets deserve the best care based on scientific facts.