Caring for older dogs: top tips to help you take care of your senior dog
Just like their human companions, dogs slow down as they age and can start to suffer from elderly ailments, such as aching joints and deafness. Read our tips to help take care of your dogs in their senior years.
Your dog might not be a playful puppy anymore, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need regular exercise to keep healthy. Older dogs are more prone to obesity, which can lead to health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, all which can shorten its life.
It’s therefore important that you keep your dog active. It might be less enthusiastic these days about running around the park, but don’t let that deter you. Shorter walks, little and often, will be easier on your dog’s older joints while also providing the regular exercise it needs. You might also consider giving it different toys to play with and puzzle feeders to keep it entertained and prevent it getting bored.
Watch for signs
Your elderly dog can tell you if it’s struggling, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour or routine that could indicate illness. Some examples of potential signs to look out for include difficulty changing position or climbing the stairs, limping, eating or drinking less or more, not responding to sounds, and changes in toilet habits. Of course, this is just a small list – only you know your dog and you’ll know what’s normal.
A good way to look out for signs of illness in your canine friend is regular gentle grooming sessions. Not only will these help relax your dog and strengthen the bond between you, but they’ll also enable you to spot any abnormalities, such as painful-to-touch areas or unusual lumps. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, get your dog checked out by a vet. There are lots of ailments that commonly affect senior dogs, many of which can be easily treated or managed.
For instance, arthritis and osteoarthritis are often seen in older dogs, but these can be managed with effective long-term treatment. Unfortunately, this can often turn out to be costly for owners. It’s therefore advisable that you have good pet insurance cover for your veterinary bills that doesn’t discriminate against elderly animals. The tailored policy offered by Petsure covers pre-existing medical conditions and has no upper age limit, so is ideal for senior dogs.
While older dogs usually prefer to have a regular routine, there are some things you might want to change in their environment to make life a bit easier for them. Make sure you keep all their essentials within easy reach, so they won’t have to venture far to find their bed, food, and toys. It’s also likely that your older dog will need to go to the toilet more often, so ensure there’s easy access to a toilet area. You might notice your senior dog resting much more these days, so ensure you provide a warm bed in a quiet spot where it won’t be disturbed.
It’s also worth noting that older dogs can find slippery floors difficult to walk on, so consider putting a rug down on hard flooring so that your canine companion has something to grip on. This will also be gentler and warmer on its old paws. You can get non-slip socks for senior dogs that will help to keep their paws warm and dry during walks. You might also want to consider getting a coat as well.
Caring for your dog in its twilight years can be challenging as you witness it slowing down. However, by following our top tips, you can ensure that your canine companion is as happy and healthy as it can be.