Caring For Your Dog As They Get Older With These 3 Useful Tips
Watching our furry friend get old is one of the hardest things you can do as a pet owner. For all the joy our pets bring us, it comes with the knowledge that they won’t be around forever, which can often make our time with them bittersweet.
On average, a dog is considered ‘elderly’ when they reach seven years of age, although this can vary from breed to breed. If you are the owner of an aging dog, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they are as comfortable and as happy as possible. Often, this doesn’t require sweeping lifestyle changes. Instead, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve their quality of life as they head into their twilight years. Let’s find out more.
Make Regular Vet Visits
Much like humans, dogs can be more susceptible to illness and injury as they get older. Underlying health problems can come to the fore, while weakening legs can increase the risk of falls or accidents occurring. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain and stiffness in dogs. Whilst there is no cure, there are veterinary treatments that can help reduce pain and slow progression.
Vet visits are important for a dog of any age, but particularly for those that are getting a little grey around the muzzle. Vets will be able to perform general health checks to ensure your dog is fighting fit, while they’ll also be able to test for and spot any developing issues that can be common in older dogs.
Unfortunately, vets don’t come cheap. The last thing you want is to be told your dog needs an operation that could cost several thousands. This is why pet insurance is so important, it can cover the costs of any bills you might face should your pooch require treatment. Check out Petsure, they offer comprehensive insurance packages for dogs with no upper age limit, perfect for your elderly friend.
Make Your Home More Accessible for Dogs
Dogs may love rough and tumble, but their joints and muscles can get weak and stiff as they get older. You should take steps to make your home more accessible for your dog as they age, this will help them get about safely and access their favourite spots without injuring or straining themselves.
What dog doesn’t love a nap on the couch? Jumping on and off the sofa can put undue pressure on your older dogs’ legs and can lead to injury. To avoid this, get some steps or a gentle ramp that your dog can use to get on and off the couch for nap time. These can be bought from most pet shops, or easily put together yourself if you like a bit of DIY.
Dogs’ food and water bowls are usually placed on the floor. While this is perfectly fine for younger dogs, the effort of bending down to eat or drink can sometimes strain an older dog’s neck and shoulders. By raising their bowls off of the ground by placing them on a platform or a frame, you will be able to help your dog eat and drink more easily.
Think About Your Dog’s Diet
A dog’s dietary requirements will change as they get older. This can involve moving onto a special senior dog food or giving them smaller meals throughout the day. Some dogs can lose teeth as they age, if this happens you will need to provide them with wet, mushy food to prevent them from hurting their gums.
Pay close attention to your dog’s eating and drinking habits. Any change or deviation from the norm could potentially indicate an underlying health issue or condition such as diabetes.
Nobody wants to see their dog grow old, but it is unfortunately an unavoidable part of owning a pet. What you can do is ensure your dog enters their elder years in style and comfort and that they want for nothing as they age.