As your dog ages, getting older is inevitable. However, a good diet and regular exercise can help your pooch avoid many of the problems that come with age. Pay attention to changes in your dog’s behavior and check in with a veterinarian regularly to make sure you’re on top of any issues.
Know what to expect.
Your senior dog is going to need more time and attention. They can also be more prone to accidents and injuries, so it’s crucial that you’re prepared with their favorite treats and toys. If you have any questions about what to expect as your dog ages, we’ve got the answers right here!
- Senior dogs are more likely to have health problems than younger ones. Some of these problems include arthritis, thyroid disease, heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease (to name a few).
- Senior dogs may sleep more often than younger ones do—in fact they could need several long naps throughout the day!
- Many senior dogs don’t move around as much as younger ones do; this means that a daily walk might not be enough exercise for them anymore. You’ll want to consider ways you can get them moving around throughout the day by playing fetch or taking walks together in your backyard instead of just letting him out in the yard for walks alone (which isn’t recommended anyway!).
Visit a vet regularly.
It’s important to develop a good relationship with your veterinarian, and visit him or her regularly. Your dog can’t tell you when it hurts, so if he starts limping or acting strangely, it’s up to you as an owner to get help for your pet.
As with humans, dogs need regular checkups at the vet’s office. Depending on age and health status, this may be once every six months or once every year; you should ask your own vet how often is best for your dog. If your dog is sick or injured (such as by being hit by a car), take him immediately; don’t wait until tomorrow or later in the week!
Pay special attention to your dog’s teeth and gums.
Dental hygiene is extremely important for dogs, just as it is for humans. Just like humans, dogs can get cavities and suffer from gum disease if their teeth are not cleaned regularly.
A good way to help your dog keep his/her teeth healthy is by brushing them once or twice a week with a paste made specifically for pets. You should also check his/her gums regularly to make sure they are healthy looking and free of infection or swelling. If you notice any problems, contact your vet right away before the problem gets worse!
Make sure they’re getting enough exercise.
You’ve probably heard that a dog’s health and happiness depends on exercise, but did you know that the amount of exercise your dog needs changes with their age? If your senior dog isn’t getting enough exercise, it could lead to health problems later in life.
A good rule of thumb is that if your senior dog can’t walk more than 50 yards without stopping or taking a rest, they aren’t getting enough activity. Exercise doesn’t have to involve going on long walks; any activity that gets your pooch moving will help them stay healthy! Some ideas include fetching toys, running around in the yard or playing catch with you on rainy days inside with a towel or ball (no hard toys). Make sure your senior dog has access to these activities daily so they can keep themselves entertained while also staying active.
Don’t change dog food all at once.
When you switch a dog’s food, it’s important to give them time to adjust. If your pup is currently eating a different brand or type of food, gradually change their diet over the course of 2 weeks. This will give them time to develop an appetite for the new flavors and texture of the food, so they’ll actually be excited about what you’re trying to feed them!
Give your senior dog a comfortable place to sleep.
You may not have thought about it, but your senior dog will have a preference for sleeping. Give him or her a soft bed that’s warm, easy to get in and out of, easy to clean (if needed), transportable if necessary—and something that can be stored as needed.
Give your dog what he needs for his joints, whether that’s supplements or a soft place to sleep.
It’s important to keep your senior dog comfortable. Dogs that are older need a soft place to sleep, which is why dog beds are so popular these days. They’re easy to clean and portable, plus they can be stored away when not in use.
Keep up with training, even when your dog is older.
You may have figured this out already, but training your dog is important! Not only does it make them happier and more engaged in their own lives, but it can also help you both navigate the world together more easily. As a senior dog matures, they may need your help less often than when they were younger. But that doesn’t mean they can forget what they’ve learned: continuing to teach them new tricks or keep up with old ones will keep their brains active and their bodies strong, which will make them feel better overall. In addition to helping with mental health issues, these exercises might also be useful for physical issues. For instance, teaching an older dog how to get up after falling—or even simply learning how much weight should be placed on each paw—can increase mobility and reduce the risk of injury while relieving pressure on joints (and possibly reducing the pain associated with arthritis).
Watch for changes in behavior.
As a dog ages, it’s common for him to become less active and less interested in playing. Some older dogs may even sleep all day, whereas their younger counterparts were known for sleeping only at night. And while all dogs are individuals, this shift in routine can be a sign that your pooch is getting old.
If your dog’s appetite has changed dramatically—whether he’s not eating enough or eating too much—that could be an indication of illness as well. On the other hand, if he’s suddenly sleeping more or less than usual or spending more time alone than usual (something you’ll have to judge based on his past behavior), those can also be signs of aging-related health problems such as arthritis and diabetes.
Brush your dog regularly.
- Brush your dog regularly. Brushing is a great way to keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy, as well as his skin and teeth. It also helps him smell nice!
- Brush the right way. Start at the head and work down to the tail, brushing gently in long strokes with a soft-bristled brush (like this one). Make sure you brush every part of their body—their legs, belly and back need just as much attention!
Providing good care for an aging pet can help him live a long and happy life with you.
A health care plan for your dog should include regular visits to the veterinarian, dental care, exercise, and a comfortable place to sleep. It’s also important to keep up with training and watch for changes in behavior.
You’ll want to brush your dog regularly and make sure he gets plenty of fresh water at all times. And don’t forget that his teeth need cleaning too! Make sure you brush them at least once a week, or more often if there is tartar buildup or mouth odor present.
Taking care of a senior dog can seem daunting, but if you keep him healthy and happy and handle any issues that come up, you’ll be able to enjoy many years together. Make sure to bring your dog in for regular check-ups at the vet, watch out for changes in behavior or mobility, and help ease his sore joints. Helping your dog get through his senior years can be incredibly rewarding, so give him all the love and care he needs!