What is essential to consider with an old dog?
You have an old dog or your dog is in the best age? Even then, you should definitely read on. Because your dog is getting older too and often the first signs go unnoticed for a long time. In our daily life together, we often notice changes in our four-legged friend only late. And one day you notice that he is starting to get gray hairs around the muzzle. Or that after a long walk he has more difficulty getting up or climbing onto the sofa. He gets tired faster and also needs more sleep.
When is a dog old?
When your dog becomes an old dog depends on its breed and size. Smaller dogs, such as the Jack Russell Terrier or the Maltese, are not seniors until they are 9-11 years old. Irish Wolfhounds on the other hand belong to the seniors already with 5 years. In addition to breed and size, factors such as diet, living conditions and the genes of each individual dog also influence its life expectancy. The factors of nutrition and living conditions are in our hands and we also have the chance to have a preventive effect on the aging process and possibly improve our dog’s life and quality of life.
What are the most important things in a senior dog?
In any case, it is important that we adapt our living conditions to the needs of our aging four-legged friend. For this purpose, I would like to suggest a few things that you should pay attention to, so that your dog comes through his senior years as healthy and free of complaints as possible.
1. regular check ups with the vet
Especially at an advanced age, you should have your dog checked by a vet on a regular basis 8every 6-12 months). Not unlike us humans, the body needs much more attention and with regular examinations, diseases can be detected and treated earlier. Routine checks include a blood test and organ system examinations. The condition of the teeth must also be kept in mind. The musculoskeletal system must also be examined regularly in order to help your dog, for example, with arthrosis, spondylosis or other diseases of the musculoskeletal system before impairments and damage occur.
2. every kilo counts
Of course, this point counts for a whole dog’s life. But especially with our gray muzzles, I often see it gain weight. This happens because the feed supply or composition is not adapted to the reduced movement. Therefore, be sure to pay attention to the optimal weight of your dog. Every kilo too much is a burden for your old dog and damages the joints permanently.
3. senior exercise is important
It helps an old dog if instead of taking long walks during the day, you take several shorter walks. The exercise is good for your dog and the recovery periods after the walk are significantly shortened. In short, your dog exhausts less and does not run the risk of overloading. It is important to keep your dog moving as he ages, getting his regular walks, in combination with exercise that keeps him fit, agile and well muscled. The development and progression of diseases such as osteoarthritis and spondylosis can thus be positively influenced. By the way, active exercises that keep the body fit also train your dog’s head at the same time! This is also very important as we get older!
There is nothing worse for a senior than walking the same short distance day in and day out because “he can’t do it anymore”. There are many ways to make even shorter walks exciting and motivating! I’ll tell you many valuable ideas in my article How to make the walk an experience.
4. design your living environment “senior-friendly
Just as you designed the living environment to be puppy-friendly when a dog is a puppy, you should also adapt the conditions to your older dog. For dogs with joint diseases, for example, orthopedic dog beds are suitable, which adapt to the dog’s body and relieve it during sleep. Non-slip surfaces, especially on the paths in the house that your dog walks more often, will help him not to slip away and avoid falls. If your dog needs to climb stairs, there are harnesses you can use to support them and keep them safe. For the car, they are ramps and even in the house there are small stairs that allow you to climb up to the sofa when your dog can no longer jump. Many dogs also find elevated food and water bowls great.
5. watch your dog carefully
Since our dogs cannot talk to us, it is important that we watch them closely. Watch for behavioral changes, weight gain or loss, change in feeding behavior, lumps or recumbent calluses that form on the body and have any abnormalities examined by a veterinarian. Keep in mind that a dog never fakes and changes in behavior always have a cause. What we dismiss as stubbornness and old age stubbornness usually has a real cause.
Surely your dog needs more of your attention as he gets older. But what could be better than caring for your faithful companion in old age and spending quality time together? Seniors also enjoy their lives, even if the steps are slower and more arduous.
How do you organize everyday life with your senior? What is especially good for him and how did you notice that your dog is getting old? Leave me your comment below
PS: You are interested in the topic “older dog”? – Then I recommend my webinar on the subject:
We can’t prevent it – our dogs get older and physically decline. Often this fact makes us helpless. Because what actually happens in the dog’s body when dogs age? How can we support our four-legged friends, keep them mobile and even delay the aging process! And what can I still expect my dog to do, what is fun for older dogs and how do I deal with the aging of my four-legged friend?
I give you an insight into the biological process of aging and provides a good understanding. At the same time I give you measures how you can actively support and accompany your own dog in the process of aging- incl. Of a little workout for your senior dog.
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