As dogs age, they may experience changes in their physical and cognitive abilities, such as arthritis, decreased vision and hearing, and a decline in cognitive function. You must provide them with a comfortable and familiar living environment and plenty of love and companionship that can help keep senior dogs happy and content in their later years.
If a dog is seven years or above, it will be considered a senior dog. According to the Global Pet industry, the number of US households with a senior dog has increased from 42% to 52% over the past decade. As a pet owner, it’s important to understand these changes and make adjustments to ensure your senior dog is comfortable and happy in their golden years.
This article shares some simple pet-caring tips for a senior dog at home, including adjusting their diet, exercise routine, and living environment to meet their changing needs. Whether you are a first-time senior dog owner or an experienced pet parent, these tips will help you provide the best care for your aging companion.
1. Keep Track of Feeding Habits
According to Statista, the majority of dog owners feed their pets packaged wet or dry food, but 20% of the owners prefer cooking meals for their dogs.
As dogs age, their metabolism slows down, and they may start to lose weight or become overweight. To ensure your senior dog is getting the proper nutrition, you must monitor their weight and adjust its diet accordingly. For example, you may need to feed them smaller, more frequent meals or switch to a lower-calorie diet. You should also make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.
Keep an eye out for signs of dental problems, like difficulty eating or weight loss, and schedule a visit to the vet if you notice any issues.
2. Keep Necessary Supplements and Medicines Handy
As dogs age, they may develop health issues that require supplements or medications. Keeping these items handy is crucial for maintaining your senior dog’s well-being. Talk to your vet about any supplements or medications that your dog may need as they age.
You must purchase pet medications from a licensed seller. For instance, stores for pet meds in California are regulated by the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB). At the same time, veterinarians must have a valid license to prescribe and dispense medications to animals.
Pet owners can also purchase over-the-counter medications from online or physical retail stores. Still, it is important to speak with a veterinarian to ensure the medication is appropriate for the animal and to get proper dosing information. You will find many renowned online stores selling pet meds in California. They deal in all kinds of pet care medicines and supplements and deliver them to your doorstep throughout California.
Also, ensure you understand how to administer the medication and supplements, and always follow your vet’s instructions. Keep a schedule of when to give the medication and supplements, and make a note of any changes in your dog’s behavior or appetite.
3. Create Your Dog’s Convenience Areas
As dogs age, they may have difficulty getting around and experience mobility issues. To make your senior dog’s life easier, it’s important to create convenient areas in your home that allow them to rest comfortably and move around. For example, you can provide a soft, elevated bed or add ramps to areas of the house that your dog frequently uses.
Consider also adding non-slip flooring in areas where your dog may be at risk of slipping, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your senior dog can easily access their food, water, and elimination areas.
4. Give Your Senior Dog Regular Grooming Sessions
Regular grooming sessions are an important part of taking care of a senior dog. As dogs age, they may have difficulty grooming themselves and require extra attention to keep their coats and skin healthy.
Regular grooming helps keep your senior dog looking and feeling its best and provides an opportunity to check for any lumps, bumps, or other signs of health issues that may require attention.
Giving your senior dog regular grooming sessions, such as brushing their coat, trimming their nails, and cleaning their ears, will also help to keep them comfortable and prevent the matting of their hair. It’s also important to monitor their dental health and schedule regular teeth cleaning with your vet.
5. Go Out for Frequent Walks with Your Dog
Going out for frequent walks with your senior dog is important for both their physical and mental well-being. As dogs age, they may become less active and require a more relaxed exercise routine. They may also suffer from obesity, which ultimately leads to other problems.
According to Pet Keen, there has been a 158% increase in overweight dogs over the past decade in the US. Walking can help keep your senior dog fit and its joints working properly. It can also provide them with an opportunity to get fresh air and socialize with other dogs and people.
However, it’s important to remember that older dogs may tire more easily, so it’s best to keep walks shorter and slower-paced. Gradually increasing the duration and intensity of walks is a good way to keep your senior dog active without over-exerting them. Additionally, you may want to avoid walks in hot weather or on rough terrain, as these can be hard on their joints.
6. Engage Your Senior Dog in Playtime Activities
Involving your aging dog in playtime activities is an excellent method of keeping them mentally and physically active, reducing the chances of boredom and depression. As dogs age, they may lose interest in certain activities and require more interactive playtime. Engaging your senior dog in interactive games such as hide and seek, puzzle toys, or training exercises are great ways to keep their minds active and sharp.
In conclusion, caring for a senior dog at home requires a different approach than caring for a younger dog. As dogs age, their needs and abilities change, and it’s important to understand and adjust to these changes to ensure your senior dog is comfortable and happy in their golden years.
Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one senior dog may not work for another. Always consult your veterinarian and keep an open line of communication with them. They can give you the best advice on how to care for your senior dog.