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Tips for Caring for Your Senior Dog

A senior dog is not that much different than an elderly person. They start to slow down and may suffer from arthritis pain. Some dogs also have gum disease and teeth issues which can make eating difficult. Many start to suffer from incontinence Their hearing and sight might also start to decline. Cognitive deficiencies also start to occur. 

Dog breeds at at different rates. A small breed dog is not considered a senior until 10 to 11 years old, but a medium sized dog reaches senior age at eight to 10. Giant breeds are viewed as elderly at five or six. 

All geriatric dogs have different care requirements depending on their state of health. Here are a few general tips for caring for your senior dog.

Diet

You’ll want to feed a balanced diet. The older a dog becomes, the greater the animal’s risk of developing obesity which can dramatically impact the pet’s health leading to diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Many of the leading dog food brands sell formulas designed specifically for seniors. The food provides important nutrients and are low in fat to help prevent unwanted weight gain. 

Exercise Frequently

As a dog ages, the canine might start to want to nap frequently, but it’s important to keep your dog exercising. Discuss your dog’s exercise needs so you can develop a customized exercise program that factors the pet’s health and physical limitations. 

When exercising a senior dog, you’ll need to start out slow with short walks and maybe a mild game of fetch. You don’t want your older dog to overdo it so if your furry friend shows signs of tiring then it’s okay to stop. 

Maintain Oral Health 

If your dog has gum disease or missing teeth, then eating might prove painful. You should make an appointment with your veterinarian to schedule a cleaning. You can also gently brush your dog’s teeth with a canine approved toothbrush and toothpaste. Also provide your dog with dental treats which can help remove tartar and plaque buildup. 

Modify Your Home

As your dog ages, he might not be able to jump onto the bed or walk up and down steps. Providing a ramp for your dog can help your pet still enjoy activities such as lounging beside you on the bed. 

If your dog sleeps in a dog bed, then consider investing in an orthopedic bed to alleviate pressure on the dog’s joints. Many dog beds are even heated to provide extra comfort to an arthritic dog. 

Spend Quality Time with Your Dog

Watching your furry friend grow old is never an easy thing. Your dog has probably become very needy and anxious when not at your side. This is a perfectly normal occurrence in senior dogs. Spending quality time with your dog is important. Even if you just sit together for a relaxing evening, your dog will find comfort in your presence and will probably nap.


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