Caring For An Aging Dog

July 7th, 2015

oakland dog groomingIt’s sometimes a little sad when we see our aging dogs start to slow down. Fortunately, older dogs still have lots to give, and you can help them remain happy and healthy as they crest into the golden years. Here are some ways you can adapt your typical dog care to your dog as he ages.

Bi-Annual Vet Visits

You’ve spent enough time with your dog to know his personality, so as soon as you start to see a behavioral change, it could be a sign of a medical issue. Take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice an enduring change in his or her personality. Since dogs age faster than humans, you can help your dog get the best care by responding to problems right away. Also, as dogs age, their immune systems become weaker, so they’re more susceptible to diseases caused by ticks, fleas and worms. Have you vet do thorough checks of your dogs blood, teeth, and potential parasites.

Eating Habits

Take some time to watch your dog eat: is she having trouble with dry food? You may need to switch to wet food or soften it with some chicken broth. Is she ignoring her food completely? This is a good indication that a trip to the vet is in order. Is she having trouble with digestion? This is a good opportunity to switch to senior dog food.

Exercise
Your dog might not be able to chase a ball for hours like she used to, but giving your dog some regular exercise as she ages can keep her joints healthy, stop her from becoming overweight, and give her something to look forward to. Keep your exercise light, and watch for any soreness the next day, showing signs you may have overdone it.

Senior-proof your home
As your dog ages, you may need to make adjustments to the regular routine. Eliminate the need for your dog to climb the stairs, keep a bed and food and water near one another, and give plenty of affection. Instead of letting the aging process worry you, use it as a reminder to live in the moment. Snuggle up. Take a walk together. Appreciate the moments you can spend together.