Dogs make fantastic pets. They’re loyal, trusting, loving and lots of fun, especially when they’re puppies. But they don’t stay puppies, and there’s a lot you need to know about looking after an elderly dog to ensure its twilight years are as fantastic as its early years.
Don’t worry, though, the basics are below:
Take Your Dog To The Vet For A Check-Up At Least Once A Year
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons recommends you get your dog to see the vet at least yearly, even if your dog appears healthy. Because they can detect minute odor concentrations, one part per trillion (the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic size swimming pools), some dogs work as Medical Detection Dogs, helping to detect diseases early and save thousands of lives. But a human’s powers of perception are by comparison weak, so it’s best not to wait for signs which may not arrive before going for a check-up as many diseases are hidden and not easily detectable.
Feed Your Dog A High-Quality Diet
You should feed all of your pets the best diet you can afford. But it’s especially important to make sure your elderly dog is getting the essential nourishment. One thing to consider is fortifying your dog’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These are an excellent bulwark against mobility diseases like arthritis. If your dog as heart or kidney disease, you might consider a diet plan lower in sodium, an excess of which can lead to other diseases developing, including diabetes.
Keep Your Dog Warm
A dog in the prime of its life is resilient to the effects of the weather. However, older dogs are susceptible to Degenerative Joint Disease and arthritis and need warm shelter from the elements. Keep any hard surfaces, such as concrete, covered, perhaps with pieces of carpet – and perhaps consider custom dog beds. A good idea would be to line one with some towels or blankets. If your dog needs to get upstairs, or perhaps on to the couch for a cuddle, you might consider building wheeled-ramps to make it easier. Something else to consider is where you leave your dog when you go away. Some accommodations are, of course, better than others – so choose the best you can afford. *Tip: Call dog hotels in advance and let them know if your dog has special requirements.
Give Your Dog Plenty Of Gentle Exercise
Let’s face it; an elderly dog will probably want to leave the chasing cars and swimming after ducks in the local reservoir in the past. But that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t still important. It is. Both for optimal organ function and for maintaining strong joints and lean muscles. The trick is to tailor your dog’s exercise regime. For a large healthy dog, a walk around the block might not be enough. But a Yorkie might be spent after the same distance. Keep things slow and steady – and again, remember to consult your veterinary professional at least yearly.