Although it’s tempting to ignore the initial signs of an aging dog, coming to terms with dog years’ speedy (and unforgiving) nature is the first step to prolonging their good health and, ultimately, their life. Elderly dogs need specialized care to ensure they remain strong, happy, and comfortable during their final years. After all, these graying canines will often feel the sting of mobility issues, aching joints, stiff muscles, and increased disease risk during their golden years. That means you’ll need to pay close attention to signs that your furry friend is in pain or uncomfortable.
Thankfully you can reduce discomfort and improve your dog’s overall well-being by changing up their routine to include senior-specific activities and regimens, in addition to creating a safe, relaxation-friendly environment. That way, both you and Fido will rest easy knowing you understand the needs of your senior dog.
Read on for seven caregiving tips to help you tend to your elderly pup during their golden years.
Introduce a supplement regimen
As your dog ages, the nutrients required to keep them happy and healthy will differ from when they were a young pup. Additionally, as their bone mass and joints begin to deteriorate, certain supplements can help ease discomfort and prolong bodily health as they continue into their senior years. Consider adding high-quality supplements like fatty acids to improve skin and coat, probiotics to cultivate regular gut function, and chondroitin to strengthen their joints and cartilage.
Snowy Pines White Labs, a trusted Labrador Retriever breeder, endorses the use of dietary joint supplements for canine companions exhibiting signs of plateauing or declining energy levels and chronic discomfort. So, whether you own an arthritis-prone Labrador Retriever or a German Shepard pre-disposed to joint problems, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality dietary joint supplement. That way, your beloved furry friend can spend their golden years chasing tennis balls and swimming in refreshing lakes before crossing over into doggy heaven.
Purchase a high-quality senior dog food
In addition to added supplements, owners of senior dogs should consider swapping out adult food for a kibble targeting the dietary needs of older pups. Unfortunately, aging dogs are prone to obesity because they cannot exercise as frequently as younger and more agile canines. That said, you’ll need to monitor their food consumption closely and ensure the brand you purchase aids in weight regulation. For best results, consider consulting with a trusted vet for guidance on which brand to select.
Add accessibility features to your home
Often, senior dogs have difficulty maneuvering through their space once chronic discomfort and mobility issues set in. Stairs feel mountainous, raised couches are insurmountable, and hardwood floors become slippery hazards to disabled dogs navigating their once comfortable home. Thankfully, you can install simple ramps and purchase runner rugs to ensure your aging dog can continue to move throughout their space with ease and safety.
Frequent, low-impact exercise
Although strenuous, high-intensity exercise may be out of the question now that your dog has entered its senior years, consistent easy-going physical activity is still essential to keep your elderly pup healthy, flexible, and comfortable. A simple daily walk can do the trick for most breeds, enabling them to stretch stiff joints, strengthen idle muscles, and stimulate their appetite.
Swap out their bedding
Another way to pamper your senior dog is by tossing out their old, ultra-fluffy bedding for more supportive orthopedic cushions that provide added support. Not only are thick, firm, heated beds more comfortable, but they also offer aching dogs relief by propping them up and soothing joint pain.
Pay attention during grooming
Although keeping up with your pet’s grooming is an essential aspect of dog ownership regardless of age, it’s vital to maintain their coat during their golden years so you can track fallout and look out for suspicious bumps. A sure-fire sign of various health complications is excessive fur loss, which is easier to spot when your dog is well kept. Additionally, frequently grooming and combing through your furry friend will help you identify any lumps or adhesions, allowing the vet to catch complications quickly.
Caring for a senior pup requires extra time and dedicated effort to ensure they remain happy and healthy through their final years of life. You’ll need to track their food intake, implement a supplement regime, engage in regular exercise, and notice any irregularities in appearance or behavior to maintain their well-being.