Tips On Caring For Your Senior Dog
When we take a dog home to be part of the family, we're making a big commitment. We give them love, feed them and give them shelter as they grow from puppies into adults. But they start to slow down and age a lot faster than we want them to. Taking care of older dogs is a challenge, but as owners and companions, we want to keep them comfortable. Here are 6 tips to caring for your senior dog.
Know Your Breed
Knowing the breed of your dog may help you know how to you care for your pup. Certain illnesses and diseases affect some breeds more than others. Knowing what you could be facing as your dog ages may help you better manage your dog's health and care. It's harder to determine what mutts are predisposed to, but your vet may have an idea of what breeds your dog is made up of so you can figure out any diseases he may be susceptible to and prepare for them.
Your dog needs exercise but, just like humans, it starts to hurt to move. Take cues from your dog's behavior; don't force him to go for long walks if he's too tired, but make sure he gets moving at least a little bit each day. His sluggishness may also be a symptom of something bigger, like arthritis. There are treatments and temporary remedies to make your dog feel a little better in his golden years; talk to your vet about your options.
Food brings a lot of pleasure to dogs -- sometimes too much pleasure. With a slowing metabolism, weight gain is almost inevitable. If your dog is starting to gain weight, you may need to put him on a diet. Weight gain can put pressure on his joints making walking and moving -- even sleeping -- painful. Though you will likely want him to be as happy as possible, you also want him to be comfortable. Remember, never to feed him scraps from your dinnerware and check with your vet for special food to keep your aging pup trim.
Dental health is a life-long commitment, but it's especially important take care of a senior dog's teeth. Dental problems can lead to complications in other parts of the body like the heart, liver and kidneys. Make sure to brush your dog's teeth regularly to maintain overall good health as he gets older.
As with people, as dogs' bodies age, they become more sensitive to temperature. The normal body temperature for dogs is between 99.5 ░F and 102.5 ░F. In warmer months, take extra care to keep your dog out of the heat -- limit time outdoors, keep him in the shade during walks, and always have a good supply of water. During the winter, make sure to give your dog a jacket in addition to his fur coat to help him retain some of his body heat when he's outside and look into an extra pillow and blanket to keep him cozy when he's inside.
When your dog starts slowing down in his exercise routine, it may be a sign to start making adjustments around the house to suit his needs. That means anything he liked to do upstairs should be moved to the ground floor where he can get to it comfortably. For places he used to jump up on, he may require a set of pet stairs. His pet bed and food may need to be moved to a place that's more accessible to an aching dog.
At The Lakeside Collection, our furry friends are members of the family so we do our best to keep them happy and healthy. From tips to keeping your dog's teeth clean to toys only cats find entertaining, look to Lakeside to delight any member of your family.