How to Help Your Dog Age Gracefully

Is your furry friend showing signs of aging? Well, now more than ever, it’s important that you keep him as safe, healthy, and comfortable as possible. As dogs age, their physical health deteriorates and their mental and psychological status worsen. Cater to the special needs of your dog, so that you get to spend as much time together as possible, and to give him the best quality of life in his remaining years.

 

If your long time furry companion is already in his senior years, here are a few tips to help him age gracefully

 

Medical Checkups are Mandatory

Older dogs are highly susceptible to various types of age-related illnesses than their younger counterparts. Some of the most common illnesses in aging dogs include arthritis, cataracts, tooth and gum disease, hip dysplasia, urinary incontinence, kidney failure, diabetes, and obesity. With regular visits to the veterinarian, signs and symptoms of these diseases can be caught early, giving your dog a chance to live much longer. 

 

Provide Adequate Dietary Needs

Your old dog will require proper nutrition to stay healthy, strong, and to prevent nutrient deficiency illnesses. Be sure to feed him with a high quality balanced diet. Carbohydrates will provide him with the energy he needs to stay active and strong. Good quality proteins will help build strong muscles for strength and stability- dogs tend to lose muscle as they age and a diet rich in proteins can help replace and build more. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins will help slow the aging process while combating age-accelerating free radicals. Be sure to reduce the amount of calories per day to prevent him from being overweight. Give him plenty of water each day to keep him well hydrated.

 

Exercise Your Dog on a Regular Basis

Once they start aging, dogs tend to lose muscle mass- and this can immensely affect their metabolism. Older dogs should be kept active throughout. Exercise prevents them from packing more pounds. It also plays a crucial role in preventing various health complications such as arthritis. Low impact exercises such as jogging, swimming, and walking are recommended. Be sure not to over-exercise him as this may cause bone fractures or trigger chest complications.

 

Take Good Care of His Dental Health

Proper dental care is especially crucial for aging dogs. They are more susceptible to tooth and gum diseases caused by bacteria, which might wreck havoc to their internal organs and overall health. Ensure good dental hygiene and have him examined regularly for dental complications.

 

Maintain Cleanliness

Keeping your pet clean can wade off disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Be sure to bathe him at least four times a week. Eradicate parasites on the coat and skin. Brush his coat often to keep him neat. Clip his toenails. Remove earwax buildup. The aim is to keep him as clean, comfortable, and healthy as possible.

 

Maintain a Conducive Environment

Caring for your aging dog also means making the appropriate changes to the surroundings. Is the environment conducive? Is he safe and comfortable? Arrange the house in such a way that he can move freely. Place a ramp or carpet-lined steps on the stairs so he can walk up and down easily. A properly positioned ramp on the car will also ease movement in and out of the car especially if he is too heavy for you to lift.

Keep his kennel clean and fresh. Wash empty food and water dishes before refilling. Clean and disinfect his bed and the kennel as well. Keep the temperatures warm and cool depending on his preference- older dogs are temperature sensitive. A clean, safe, and comfortable environment will improve his overall health and well being.

 

Interact with Your Dog

An aging dog that interacts less with the owner will most likely become stressed, depressed, and may even become susceptible to various illnesses associated with aging. Don’t assume that he isn’t interested in interacting with you just because he has slowed down a bit. In fact, this is precisely the best time to play around with him and teach him new tricks. He will be more happy and content  just by being around you.

 

Show Patience, Appreciation, and Compassion

After giving you many years of friendship, love, and companionship, your dog surely deserves your patience, attention, appreciation, love, and compassion. Considering aging can be emotionally and physically straining, be sure to show him much love and compassion. Be patient with him as he goes through the aging process. This will assure he will be much happier for his remaining years.

 

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