Everyone who has a dog knows how much fun and laughter they bring into your life. Heck, even people who don’t have dogs understand this, too. But, like everything else, dogs will age. They still provide all the love and attention that makes them so special, they’re just a little slower to leap off the sofa to greet you and they spend a lot more of their day snoozing. As a dog lover, you want to make their later years comfortable and enjoyable, so here is some advice on how you and your family can care for an older dog.
Adjust Their Diet
A good diet is something you should provide your dog anyway, but it is even more important in old age. They need the right vitamins and nutrients to keep their energy levels up, and you may need to make allowances for any deficiencies they might develop as they get older. Furthermore, you’ll need to manage their portion sizes and avoid giving them too much, as they won’t be able to burn this off through exercise as easily. This could lead to obesity, which brings even more problems.
Keep Them Active
To keep their weight down, you can still take them for as many walks as they can do. This will give them the chance to get some fresh air, meet their friends at the dog park, and stretch their legs. Even a short walk each day will do them a world of good, and it will keep their muscles strong enough to go on longer adventures if they can do so.
But Know Their Limits
Of course, old age means they aren’t as energetic as they once were. You should remember that they may not manage the same long walks they did when they were younger, and pushing them to do so could cause a severe injury as their bones and muscles are not as strong as they were before. You can also take care of them at home and adjust the house to limit the number of hazards. If they love sleeping beside you on the sofa, put something next to it for them to climb up on if they cannot jump high enough.
It’s a cliche that your dog hates the vets, but they are more crucial than ever as they get closer to old age. By now, your dog should be comfortable with the vet, and the vet will also know all about them. This can make vet visits much more comfortable. The vet should be able to identify any problems and recommend medicine or additional treatment that will help them stay as healthy as possible as they get older. It’s recommended to take your dog to the vet every six months for a checkup so you can stay ahead of potential health problems.
Many dogs will lose their teeth as they get older, whether because of old age or because they chewed a little too much on your favorite work shoes. Still, dental care is just as vital for them as it is for you. Of course, they can’t brush their teeth, but you can try this. If they aren’t a fan (and they rarely are) give them specialized dental treats that can provide all the essentials they need for healthy teeth and gums.
Vaccines and Parasites
Worms, ticks, and fleas can be a problem no matter how old your dog is, especially if you go for long walks in the field with high grass. Because of this, you must find the right paradise protection that will keep them healthy. There is a range of excellent parasite protection products that are suitable for dogs of all sizes and ages, so shop around until you find the perfect one for your dog. You should also keep up to date with vaccines, but this should only be every three years.
A healthy coat won’t just make your old dog look like a distinguished older gentleman or classy lady. It can also prevent dry skin that can become seriously irritating for them. This is especially true of long hair breeds, but short hair dogs also require it. Invest in some conditioning shampoo to prevent this dryness and brush your dog’s coat regularly.
Keep Them Comfortable
Your dog probably already has plenty of blankets and beds that allow them to stretch out and get comfortable at any time of the day. For older dogs, this comfort is even more essential, so find special products that relieve pressure, which will reduce the risk of aches and pains. You can research how dogs with arthritis can sleep better, while also making your home safe and comfortable for them. This will prevent any injuries and keep them happy in any room where they choose to snooze.
Don’t Get Frustrated
Older dogs can develop problems such as a weak bladder, loss of hearing, or blindness. If you’re not used to this, it can be frustrating. However, you mustn’t get upset or angry at your dog because they can’t help it. For most people, the idea of getting upset at their dog horrifies them, so this shouldn’t be too much to ask, but remember that any accidents or problems are things you can work around.
Spend Lots Of Time With Them
It’s a sad thought, but there will come a time where your dog won’t be with you anymore. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that, but you can make the most of your remaining time together by spending as much time with them as possible. Cuddle them as much as possible, take them on adventures, and do everything else you can to make them happy. Their love is unconditional, and they will feel much more comfortable with you, making any pains of aging dissipate altogether.
They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can ensure that their last years with you are as comfortable as possible. It may take them some time to realize they are not as nimble as they once were, but with your support and care, they can easily have the very best years of their life.