Everyone loves puppies; they’re cute and small, but they quickly grow into older animals. As any responsible dog owner knows, dogs are a 10-15 year commitment, and they need extra care as they get older.
While most dog lovers know that puppies have specific dietary and lifestyle requirements, they sometimes overlook older animals’ changing needs.
At the Alliance Of Therapy Dogs is deeply committed to aiding in all dogs’ welfare, we thought we’d put together a blog post to share some tips on caring for senior dogs.
What Is A Senior Dog?
Before sharing tips on caring for senior dogs, we thought we’d define what we mean by senior dogs. A senior dog’s definition depends on several factors, including the size and breed of the animal.
Usually, a senior dog is between 5 and 10 years old. When dogs reach this age, they can face health issues and other challenges, much like senior humans.
Now we’ve defined senior dogs, let’s check out how you can improve your older pet’s life and make sure that they look and feel great for the rest of their days.
Change Their Diet
Older dogs can become prone to obesity and other health problems. They also might need additional vitamins and minerals, depending on their health, size, and breed.
As a result, you should consider changing your dog’s diet. There are many different dog foods tailored to older dogs, so you should check out the options on the market to find the perfect one for your pooch.
If you’re unsure about what your older dog needs from its food, then consult your vet. They can advise you on what your dog needs and which foods could benefit them.
Older dogs can sometimes have sensitive stomachs, so make sure that you gradually change their food so that the change isn’t a shock to their system.
The best approach is to mix some of their new food with the product you fed them before. Over time, you can add more of your dog’s new food and less of the old product until eventually, you’ve changed the food products over wholly.
Care For Your Senior Dog’s Oral Health
Humans often lose their teeth as they age, and the same issue can occur in dogs too. Dogs that eat particularly tough treats, are rough with their toys, or haven’t had their teeth cleaned during the earlier part of their lives can be particularly prone to tooth decay.
If you’ve never focused on your dog’s oral health before, then now’s the time to make sure that your older dog has clean teeth.
It can be tough to brush a reluctant dog’s teeth, and this approach could cause your dog unneeded stress. If this is the case, you should consider using dental chews or toys with tooth cleaning properties.
Keep An Eye Out For Health Issues
As dogs get older, they can develop health issues, including arthritis, bowel problems, and much more—additionally, their senses, including their sight and hearing, can cause problems for your dog.
While most of these issues aren’t preventable, you must be proactive to improve your dog’s quality of life and reduce the chances of these issues getting worse.
As such, you should keep an eye on your dog and be alert to any changes in their behavior or health, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem.
If you notice any changes in your senior dog, you should immediately take them to the vet to find out what’s wrong and start treatment.
As well as being more alert to changes in your dog’s health, it would help if you also considered taking them to the vet more often for check-ups. Your vet can also advise you on caring for your dog as it ages and giving you practical tips.
Adapt To Their Changing Needs
Like senior people, aged dogs often get fatigued easily and suffer from mobility issues and other challenges. As such, they have lifestyle needs that are very different from puppies and younger dogs.
Help them to feel loved and cared for by adapting to their changing needs. For example, you could consider taking them for shorter walks or making sure that their bed and food bowls are more easily accessible.
It might take a little trial and error, but if you’re dedicated, you should adapt to your older dog’s requirements and make them feel comfortable and happy during their senior years.
Give Them Lots Of Love
While your dog might be very different from a puppy, it still needs just as much love, support, and affection.
Whatever happens to your pet, make sure that you keep giving them all of the hugs and snuggles so that they always feel safe and loved.
Contact The Experts
If you’re unsure about caring for your senior dog, then reach out to dog care experts. That might mean your vet if it’s a health-related issue.
However, if you’ve got more general questions, then reach out to dog care experts. From behaviorists to animal therapists, there are loads of pet experts out there who can help you take care of your senior dog.
The Alliance Of Therapy Dogs experts loves to discuss animal care with owners, particularly dog owners who are considering making their dog a therapy dog or helping in any way with our vital work.
We welcome therapy dogs of any age or breed: it’s the temperament and training that counts! If you think that your senior dog could make a fantastic therapy dog and bring joy to various individuals, then contact us today.
Our team can discuss our requirements and the next steps with you to feel supported throughout every process stage.
If your dog isn’t suited to becoming a therapy dog, then there are still plenty of ways that you can help us. Whether you want to donate or become a member, we welcome any assistance you can give us, especially during these challenging times.