Raising a dog can provide invaluable benefits for your physical and mental health. Not only will you get tons of exercise from the daily walks, but having your best friend by your side can reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel less alone. Unfortunately, the aging process happens to us all, and once your dog reaches their older years and you start to spot grey hairs, it’s time to change how you care for them.
Depending on the breed and age, your dog may have additional needs, meaning your attention and focus should be on ensuring your pooch stays happy and healthy in their older years. To help, here are some useful tips to take on board.
Find a Reputable Vet
No matter what breed your dog is, conditions like arthritis are more prevalent in older dogs. This means that they may need specialist treatment and care to help with their joint health. You must find a reputable vet in your area who can deliver expert advice and support to keep your older dog happy, healthy, and mobile. Once you find a vet that you trust, this will put your mind at ease, especially if you need to make an emergency appointment. Even if your dog is one of many that fears the vet, don’t hesitate to take your pooch in if they need urgent assistance.
Choose the Right Diet
As your dog gets older, you may start to relax on what they can and cannot eat. However, this attitude won’t be helpful for your dog’s weight. A balanced diet plays a critical role in maintaining your pooch’s health, even as they enter their older years. Older dogs are at a higher risk of developing obesity, so you need to make sure they are eating foods that are low in fat, contain fewer calories, but most importantly, provide nutritional value for your best friend. There are numerous dog food providers available, which is why it’s best to speak to your vet first who can recommend the best products.
Maintain Oral Health
Just like you would with your own teeth, your dog’s gnashers need to be kept in excellent condition. An effective way to combat and reduce plaque is by giving your older dog dental chews. As they get older, their oral health may begin to decline, and some teeth may fall out. If this happens, your dog may have difficulty biting and chewing on food which can have a huge impact on their overall health and happiness. Therefore, maintaining their oral health is the best way to keeping their dental hygiene in check. Other ways you can improve your dog’s oral health include brushing their teeth daily and seeing your vet if they have dental disease.
Provide Regular Grooming
Older dogs need to be groomed just as much as younger dogs. As your dog reaches old age, they may start experiencing skin conditions and dry skin more often. One way to stop this from happening is by grooming your dog regularly. Also, your older dog’s fur may start to become tangled which can be difficult to brush and keep clean, so taking your dog to the groomers is essential. If you want to save money and do the grooming yourself, there are some useful tips that can help, such as using a gentler, softer brush, and keeping the grooming session short.
Play with Your Dog
Spending quality time with your beloved dog will do you both the world of good. No matter how jam-packed your schedule is, your dog will benefit and appreciate you being by their side and providing cuddles and kisses. Just because your dog is older, it doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun, so make sure you find games that you can play to keep them active and on their feet. If you’re at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, you will have more time to play with your pooch. Whether you have a game of tug of war, hide and seek, or cosy up on the sofa to watch a film, making memories is more important than ever in your dog’s older years.
Choose Age-Appropriate Exercise
As well as playing indoors with your dog, you need to make sure your dog is getting age-appropriate exercise. If you’ve had your dog since they were a puppy, they will have had tons of energy in their earlier years. However, as the years fly by, their health and the aging process kicks in, meaning they may struggle to go on long walks. You must always put your dog’s health first, so instead of taking your pooch on a long hike, it may be time to adjust your plans and factor in regular breaks to give your dog a chance to relax.
If your older dog is having difficulty getting around, dog joint supplements from a reputable company like YuMOVE may be the answer. YuMOVE sell supplements for dogs of all ages, and if you have cats in the household too, they can cater for them as well. Dog joint supplements may ease stiffness, pain and discomfort which can massively improve your dog’s quality of life. Visit https://yumove.co.uk to find out more.
Look for Changes in Behaviour
Dog owners know their best friend inside out. If you have noticed a change in your dog’s behaviour and are concerned, you must take action and see your vet. Once you begin paying attention to their behaviour, you will know what steps to take. If your dog starts to become withdrawn and is going off their food, this is a cause for concern that shouldn’t be ignored. If your dog has tucked back ears or a tucked in tail, this is a sign of stress and anxiety. Although it’s hard to see your dog in this state, the sooner you get them checked out, the quicker they can return to their old self.
Purchase a New Bed
When your older dog goes to bed, you will want to climb into your own knowing that they’re comfortable and happy. If your dog has had the same bed for many years, it may be time to purchase a new one, especially if they have mobility issues. There are specialist beds that can support your dog’s bones and joints as they sleep, helping them to wake up feeling stress-free and relaxed.
Reward with Treats
All dogs love treats no matter their age or breed. If you want to show how much you love your canine friend, there are plenty of healthy dog treats you can buy that will keep your dog happy and benefit their health. Giving your dog treats is a fantastic way to bond with them and show how much you care for them. However, try not to overstep the mark and give them too many, otherwise they may be forever at your feet begging for more!
As your dog gets older, there are certain things you can do to ensure their health, wellbeing and happiness are put first. Knowing the first signs of aging and taking precautionary measures will make sure that your dog leads a good quality of life as they enter their older years.