Just like humans, senior dogs need special care and attention than the young ones. As years go by, their senses, such as their sight and hearing, aren’t how they used to be, and they become less mobile. Some senior dogs are still healthy in general, and when their energy permits, they still are a goofy bunch of fur. But sometimes, diseases develop, and they require medical attention. As they age, it is important that we take them to their vets for their regular check-ups to make sure that they’re in their top shape to help them prolong their lives.
There are lots of simple things that we can do for our senior dogs. Not because they have aged, we can’t treat them to their favourite activities or give them what they love. We all want to give our fluffy family members the life that they deserve, and we can make their golden years comfortable. Here are the things that you can do to keep them happy and healthy.
What They Need
Appropriate diet. All ageing individuals require more calories but food with lesser fats and calories are advisable to senior dogs. According to a study, as dogs age, their metabolism slows down, causing a decrease in calorie burning which means more fats are getting stored, resulting in weight gain.
Exercise. Regular exercise is very important to senior dogs. Since they are prone to obesity, keeping in shape is beneficial to their physical health. Exercising can also prevent the development of some diseases such as heart disease and joint problems. Be sure to tailor your dog’s exercise to their energy and capabilities; keep it easy and gentle. It could be a quick walk around the familiar neighbourhood to sniff and get some fresh air or a quick lap of swimming if they enjoy the water when the weather permits.
Vet check-ups. Going to the vet for regular check-ups is one of the very important things when you have a senior dog. Remember that as your dog ages, its immune system becomes less strong. A regular visit once every six months is recommended to give the vet enough basis of your dog’s previous health, and he can figure out if there’s something wrong with your dog.
Vaccinations and other protections. Getting the recommended shots to avoid certain health problems is also important. While the interval varies due to individual needs, it is important to get what your vet recommends for your dog. Protection against ticks, fleas, and worms are also important to be administered, just like when your senior dog was younger.
Grooming. When dogs become older, their usual shiny and bright fur becomes dull. Their skin also becomes dryer and prone to flakes and irritations. Regular bathing using natural shampoo and regular combing of coats is beneficial.
Oral health. Dental care is as important as their general well-being. Taking care of your dog’s oral health can prolong their life by an average of two years longer. Some dental diseases can affect your dog’s body organs, such as their heart, kidneys, liver, and bladder. To improve dental health, you may brush their teeth, give some dental chews, and water additives that can reduce plaques.
Comfort. Depending on your senior dog’s overall being, it is essential that you provide them with a proper environment. For dogs with joint and vision problems, soft and accessible bedding is important to make them feel comfortable. Avoid stairs or provide a dog ramp to aid with their movements.
Quality time. Spending time with your senior pup is as important as when they’re younger. They may have lower energy and may seem lazy, but they still love spending time with you. You can take them to their favourite park and do people (and other dogs) watching, to the beach and laze around the sand, or simply play with them in your backyard even if you both don’t run, that’s okay. Doing such activities is beneficial to their being, just like how humans feel when doing enjoyable things.
As much as we want to keep them healthy as ever, ageing comes with common health problems. These are some health conditions that are aggravated by their physical characteristics and old body organs. This includes the deterioration of their senses, which are hearing and vision loss. Problems with mobility are also affected by joint problems and obesity. And some chronic diseases like dementia, cancer, kidney issues and heart problems arise. The latter might even cause wheezing in dogs.
Aside from giving them a healthy lifestyle, there are some supplements that you can include in their diet to further support and boost their body and immunity.
Supplements For Dogs
Fatty acids. Including this supplement in your senior dog’s diet may help with the improvement of their cognitive function and may help treat canine arthritis and kidney disease. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are believed to be beneficial to immune functions.
Probiotics. Giving your dogs probiotics aids their digestive health, especially when they are prone to digestive problems such as diarrhoea and gas. It can also improve your dog’s stool quality. Giving yoghurt as a natural source of probiotics can be a yummy way of getting this supplement.
Antioxidants. An antioxidant is a must in your dog’s diet. They fight free radicals and toxins that may cause health issues like respiratory problems, allergies, immunodeficiency, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. You can include antioxidant-rich food in your senior pup’s diet by giving them blueberries, cooked squash, carrots,
CBD oil. CBD supplements or commonly known as CBD oil, has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with your senior dog’s arthritis. It is also said that CBD oil may help to improve the appetite of dogs with chronic conditions, such as kidney failure and even cancer. Many dog owners report the positive effects of CBD oil for pain when used by their dogs.
Vitamins C and E. These vitamins are essential, especially to senior dogs. Vitamin C helps protect their joints and provides energy, and vitamin E helps them maintain a strong immune system.
Glucosamine with Chondroitin Sulfate. This powerful supplement contains anti-inflammatory properties, which is great in aiding dogs with joint problems. They provide lubricant to the joints and support cartilage regeneration.
Turmeric. Often used by humans thanks to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, turmeric can also be given to your senior dogs, especially those suffering from osteoarthritis. Curcumin in turmeric also supports your dog’s coat and skin.