5 Surprising Senior Dog Care Tips

  • 13/04/2020
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Introduction

If your dog is getting on in years, it’s time to slow down. As your pooch enters his golden years, his bones will ache, he won't run to you as quickly as he used to, and short walks will exhaust him. I should know. My Portuguese water dog, Chloe, is 12 years old and isn’t as spry as he used to be.

I knew I had to prioritize his comfort and happiness now to ensure his last years are filled with peace. Here are some senior dog care tips that I followed that helped my sweet Chloe before he crossed the rainbow bridge:

1. Clean Up The Clutter

Like humans, a dog’s sense of sight and smell deteriorate with age. In other words, your senior pooch is relying more on memory than his senses to move around. To prevent injuries, do not move your furniture around. It will also prevent your senior dog from getting disoriented and stressed out.

Focus on removing toys or other clutter from the floor, especially around stairs. If your aging dog has poor eyesight, it can trip down them and injure itself.

2. Reduce Calorie Intake

When a dog ages, its metabolism also slows down. This means your dog is storing more fat than he is using as energy, especially since he is not as active as he used to be. As such, you cannot keep feeding your senior pet as much as you did.

Mature dogs require 20% fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight than a younger dog can maintain with regular exercise. Dogs age at different rates, according to breed, so you will need to adjust your pooch’s diet accordingly.

3. Keep Your Dog Active

Muscle mass drives metabolism, and since it reduces with age, your aging dog may not be as active as he used to be. However, while he may slow down, canceling walks will only do more harm than good. His lack of energy may be indicative of untreated pain rather than just old age.

Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise that promotes a healthy mind and body without aggravating a senior dog’s health. However, when you walk your dog, go slowly, especially if he has arthritis. Remember, the aim is to encourage activity, not play.

4. Consider Natural ‘Doggy Vitamins’

A healthy diet can only go so far for a senior dog. Adding dog-friendly supplements to it can boost your dog's heart, brain, bone, and joint health. Since each breed is different, your vet will recommend specific supplements for your pooch. Some of them include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids to treat arthritis and cognition issues.
  • Fruits that are high in anti-oxidants (such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) are great for memory and cognitive function.

Consult with your veterinarian before introducing these in your dog's diet. He may have different dietary needs according to his health, breed, and age.

5. Invest in a Portable Ramp

If your senior dog has gained weight because of a lack of exercise, jumping into the car will be painful for him. Sadly, he will probably jump in despite the pain because he wants to remain by your side. Prevent that pain by investing in a portable ramp he can use to walk into your car.

This way, your senior dog’s aching joints will get a reprieve. However, make sure that the ramp is not too steep or your dog’s joints will suffer.

Conclusion

Just by following these senior dog care tips, you can give your aging pooch comfort in his golden years. All they need is some extra special care to be as happy as younger dogs.

Author Bio

Meghan Wilmott is a singer and a writer who writes for Dog Pages, a dog blog. She lives in Manhattan, where she walks and cares for elderly and special-needs dogs. She has two dogs herself: Finn, a rescue Chihuahua that enjoys singing along with her, and Chloe, a senior Portuguese water dog that tries to eat everything.

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