Top Ten Tips for Living with a Senior Dog

Top Ten Tips for Living with a Senior Dog

Older Dog on Porch
Your dog can live a wonderful happy life, but will age faster than humans. Learn how to keep them well in their senior years.
 

Bringing home a new puppy is so exciting, but it doesn’t take all that long for your exuberant puppy to grow into a senior dog who may have special needs. Here are the doggies.com top ten tips for taking care of your companion who has been with you through so much.

  1. Keep up with vaccinations. Your dog may not spend as much time outdoors as he once did, but it only takes one rabid squirrel in your yard to cause a problem if your dog is not properly vaccinated. Other diseases can live for a very long time as spores in animal feces. It’s just not worth the risk. Vaccinate according to the schedule your vet recommends to guard against the risks prevalent in your area of the country.

  2.  
  3. Daily walks are a good treatment for arthritis. Just like with humans, dogs are prone to get arthritis as they age. And just like us, they may be reluctant to walk due to joint pain. However, walking is the best thing for them. Exercise strengthens the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints, meaning that less pressure is put on the bones where the pain originates. Manage pain with buffered aspirin and rebuild shock-absorbing cartilage with glucosamine chondroitin, but above all, keep walking!

  4. Older Golden Retriever
    Keep your older dog safe from diseases.
     
  5. Keep up with vaccinations. Your dog may not spend as much time outdoors as he once did, but it only takes one rabid squirrel in your yard to cause a problem if your dog is not properly vaccinated. Other diseases can live for a very long time as spores in animal feces. It’s just not worth the risk. Vaccinate according to the schedule your vet recommends to guard against the risks prevalent in your area of the country.

  6. Consider buying an orthopedic dog bed. These beds provide cushioned support for sore joints and protect the dog from cold floors that can aggravate arthritis.

  7. Visit the vet regularly. The diseases of old age sneak up on our dogs. You don’t just wake up one morning with heart failure; it’s a gradual process. Regular vet visits can find problems while they are still minor, which allows you to control their symptoms or even cure the problem before it becomes unmanageable.

  8. Older Dog on Deck
    Consider an orthapedic bed.
  9. Take a look at your dog’s teeth. A build-up of tartar over the years may be causing tooth decay and pain. Professional dental care may be needed to allow your dog to keep as many of his teeth as possible and to be able to chew without pain. Bones and chews made especially for cleaning your dog’s teeth may also help.

  10. Cut back on treats. Those extra few treats a day may not result in extra weight when your dog is young and active. But as he ages, he will likely become more sedentary. A few extra pounds is all it takes to make him not want to move much, which in turn causes more weight gain. It’s a vicious circle, and even a little bit of extra weight will make arthritis both more likely and more painful.

  11. Older Dog on Deck
    Like humans, your dog's metablolism isn't what is was when a pup.
  12. Watch for excessive weight loss. If your dog loses weight quickly, it may be a sign of an illness like cancer or a problem with his gastro-intestinal tract. If you are feeding the same amount and your dog is losing weight, or if your dog is refusing to eat, a vet visit is in order.

  13. Ask your vet if a special diet is in order. Fatty acid supplements such as DHA and EPA might help ease arthritis pain, and special diets may be helpful for dogs with heart or kidney diseases.

  14. Don’t forget to keep his mind nimble. It may seem like your senior dog sleeps all of the time, since he is likely resting more than he did as a puppy, but there is still a benefit to keeping the dog’s mind occupied. Although older dogs don’t typically destroy your house when they are bored, they still need a way to while away their days. Use puzzle toys to make your dog think before getting a treat.

Last but not least, even though we’ve already given you ten, when it is time for your dog to cross the rainbow bridge, hold him as he goes. Whether you are having him put down or letting him fade away at home, no dog deserves to die alone. If you can, fill his last days with a trip to the park, some special treats, and lots of love from his family. He has given you so much pleasure – doesn’t he deserve a wonderful send-off?

Do you have any tips for senior dogs? Please share them here in comments or on our Facebook page!

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