Dogs are happy creatures with exuberant energy. Living with dogs not only brings you joy but studies indicate that having a dog reduces the stress levels considerably. Aging is a natural process but that does not mean that you cannot make the golden years easy for your furry friends.
Having a senior dog involves some extra routines and commitments for the dog-parent. If you have own a senior dog, you might have already noticed some signs of age and physical limitations which accompany old age. When dogs reach their senior years, with physical changes a number of emotional and psychological changes are involved too. Your senior furry friend may not act normal and act complicated just like we do as we age.
And that is EXACTLY why our old pets deserve the extra ounce of time, effort and Love the same way we are compassionate towards our elderly loved ones. After all Fudge, Bronze and Fido has been our companion, confidant, partner-in-crime and best friend for years!
Incorporating some additional tasks, vigilance and some tweaks in the general routine could ensure that your senior dog feels happy and healthy in his golden years.
Listed below are some tried and tested methods that can hugely impact on your senior best friend’s quality of life:
Change in Diet:
Just as a car needs the right fuel to run our dogs also need the right kind of nutrition and diet. Having a healthy and good diet positively impacts the mood and health of living beings be it human or our furry fellows. The canine digestive system is designed in such a way that digests the raw species appropriate diet. Get your senior dog to eat fresh or cooked wholesome food like meat, vegetables and raw bones. Even the best organic ingredients cannot beat that!
As your dog ages, it becomes more essential that you get him to exercise. The key is moderation as too much of it can worsen matters and too little will hinder muscle development. Regular walks and park runs keeps your dog’s muscles strong and supple. It keeps them from getting overweight and stimulates the required appetite. Having a healthy body improves mood and keeping from anxiety and boredom.
If you are a pet parent, you surely are a good one who takes care of your pet’s needs and suitable diet. If your dog is already on a cooked diet or species appropriate raw diet, ensure that you regularly carry out detox. You could get help from a hair analyst so that your senior dog can be tested for heavy metals and minerals. A number of herbal products are available (consult your dog’s pet) that cleanse the liver. This needs to be repeated for 30 days every six months. When your dog is a year old you should get started on the detox.
Lump Bump Check:
All dogs love getting groomed, belly rubs and getting scratched. Having a senior dog that you groom yourself allows you to become familiar with its body. You can easily notice if there are any growths. This is of vital importance as frequency of growth increases with your dog’s age. The sooner you find a bump the better it is. If it needs to be removed and the smaller it is makes the surgery easier. Your dog shall recover and heal fast too. Never ignore the lumps and bumps. Though it could be harmless fat deposit, it is wise to get checked as malignant growths occur the same way.
Protection from Extreme Weathers:
When your dog reaches its senior years, he may feel uncomfortable in extreme weathers even if he never had any issue with the cold or heat. You could get a fleece blanket and dog boots for your furry friend. There is Back on Track coat that is popular item for senior dog owners. It keeps your dog warm in the house and sends the heat back to his achy body. It is great for treating musculoskeletal stiffness.
During summers ensure that your dog has fresh cool water and shade. There are cooling jackets and beds you could benefit from. The best option that your senior dog will thoroughly enjoy will be a hosing. It will refresh your dog if he is panting with wide tongue. Hose the underside of your dog in the lower areas especially groin as wetting the coat only will not cool him. Have a senior Labrador dog? Kiddie pools work great for them as they love water!
Young dogs are more than happy to sprawl out on the floor. But as dogs reach their golden years they experience stiffness from sleeping on hard surfaces. You could get a super-thick orthopedic dog bed. A warm thick bed works wonders providing joint support and pain relief to the aching body.
Joint function and good muscles are dependent on smooth moving and strength. Like machines, muscles and joints need the right parts means nutrients which are the vital building blocks of the body. Without iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and calcium both joints and muscles are prone to stiffness and injuries.
Some may think organic foods are the solution but they have none of the nutrients due to the disruption of the natural growth cycle. Ensure that your senior dog gets all the essential nutrients in form of wholefoods and supplements (recommended by vet). All supplements are not same and some of the vitamins on the shelf are made of coal and crude oil.
Increase your Dog’s Accessibility:
Puppies are happy little bouncing creatures that love sliding and slipping on floors. But senior dogs may face serious injuries and pains that they altogether avoid smooth flooring. You need to address these issues for your senior dogs.
Another problem could be heights like hopping in and out of car or stair climbing. If now your dog hangs back during these times if he had not done before, get a portable ramp. Measure your car before getting one or guessing wrong could get you a steep ramp angle that is all wrong. Use these tips so that your senior dogs lives his golden years happy and healthy!