Senior Dog Care – 7 Tips for Keeping Older Dogs Healthy & Happy
Senior Dog Care
7 Tips for Keeping Your “Older Dog” Healthy & Happy
Whether you’re adopting an “older dog” or you’re concerned about your pet who’s been with you for many years . . . you can make a huge difference in the quality of his or her life.
Here are 7 things you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy in these “golden years”:
#1: Feeding Senior Dogs A High-Quality Diet
Whether that is a commercial dog food diet or homemade, be sure to provide your “aging dog” with the best diet you can afford or have time to provide. Consult with your Vet and pay close attention to your dog’s likes and dislikes. Once you have considered these pieces of information, do your best to provide the best quality dog food within your means.
#2: Exercise Your “Elderly Dog” On A Regular Basis
You always hear that exercise is important for dog health, but it’s for a reason: exercise will help your “elderly dog” avoid many of the problems dogs face in aging: arthritis, joint problems, dysplasia and others. Keeping his body moving, his joints lose and everything stretched and toned will help to keep him emotionally happy and physically healthy.
#3: Make Regular Visits to the Vet With Your “Older Dog”
Your vet has the expertise to notice a problem with your “older dog” and in some cases will notice a problem long before you do. In addition, if you take your dog to the vet on a regular basis, you can create an on-going dialogue with your Vet. what does this mean? Surely, you will have developed a trust and can feel comfortable talking to and getting advice from him or her if a dog health problem should arise.
#4: Keep Your “Senior Dog” On A Consistent Routine
Dogs thrive on predictability and consistency. If you change your daily routine and are inconsistent with meal times and other things, your “senior dog” will have a hard time making constant adjustments to fit your life. Our lives are busy and it might be hard to keep a constant level of consistency in your aging dog’s life, but do your best. Especially as your dog gets older, he will rely on you to provide a consistent level of attention and care.
#5: Make Sure Your “Older Dog” Has A Social Outlet
Your “older dog” may not be a party animal but know this: dogs are highly social animals and if he or she is left alone much of the day without companionship or attention . . . it’s just not good.
While your dog would much prefer YOUR company, if you can’t be around consistently for some crazy reason:
. . . Consider having someone come in to walk your dog twice a day.
. . . Perhaps you’re ready to add another dog to your house to keep your older dog company.
. . . Maybe you can arrange visits to a local dog daycare center.
Whatever it is, make sure your dog’s life is full of opportunities to be social. It’s his nature . . . and feeding that need in him will help him emotionally as he ages.
#6: Change Your Senior Dog’s Living Conditions, If Necessary
I know . . . this seems to contradict the “consistent routine” tip, but here’s what I mean: if your “senior dog” seems to suffer from joint problems (like dog arthritis), you may want to reconsider allowing him to sleep outside in the winter weather any more . . . no matter how much he loves it.
If your older dog seems to have a hard time climbing stairs, it might be time to move his dog bed out of the basement (or the upstairs bedroom) and into the family space on the main floor.
The point is for you to be flexible and responsive to your senior dog’s needs. He can’t tell you what he needs, so pay attention and respond appropriately.
#7: Don’t Fret Over Your “Aging Dog” . . . Just Love ‘Em!
Are you saddened by the fact your dog is getting older? Snap out of it, and instead focus on just loving your aging friend. (Afterall, we almost always outlive our beloved pets anyway).
Your job is to love and care for your “aging dog” while he or she is with you . . . however long or short a period of time that may be. Don’t let your fear of your dog dying prevent you from enjoying your time together each and every day.