To ensure that senior dogs stay healthy and happy, it is necessary to know their special needs.
Like us, your dog will appreciate a large soft bed in which to lie comfortably, especially if you have joint pain. Place it in a warm and quiet place, away from drafts. Make sure you have a bowl of clean, fresh water nearby so you do not have to look for it or go up and down stairs unnecessarily.
When you go out with him, you may find that your senior dog is not as agile as before. The arthritis of your joints can prevent you from getting in and out of the car, so you’ll have to pick him up if he’s small, or put him on a ramp if it’s big.
The Nutrition Of Senior Dogs
As the owner of an older dog, it is important to understand that your nutritional needs are changing. After seven years (depending on the race), you will start to take life more calmly. Older dogs are less active than before and have a slower metabolism, so they do not need as many calories as before. As your body slows down, you spend less energy, so your tendency to accumulate fat increases. What older dogs need to maintain a healthy weight are high-quality proteins that are easy to digest.
A special meal for older dogs will satisfy the new needs of your older dog, and will also be more suitable for your digestive system and your teeth. Also, it would be good if you keep your pet in a dog run.
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If your older dog is reluctant to eat, go to your veterinarian to rule out underlying health problems. The solution can be very simple, such as giving smaller and frequent rations, varying the textures and flavors of your food or tempering it a bit so that it gives off a more appetizing smell.
Like us, older dogs may be more likely to develop certain health problems. Some of them may be part of a natural process of “attrition”; however, other health problems of older dogs can be easily treated. Regular check-ups are the best way to keep your dog in good health during his last years.
Visits To The Vet
Regular check-ups are essential for the health of your older dog, so much so that some veterinarians run special clinics for older pets. During these visits, the veterinarian will weigh your older dog and perform a complete checkup. If you notice something strange, you will take urine and blood samples to check if there is any sign of disease common among older dogs. Vaccination and treatments against parasites and fleas should continue throughout your dog’s life.
To keep the skin, coat and nails of your healthy older dog, perform a special grooming session at least once a week, especially if it is a race of long hair. It may be a good idea to bathe your elderly dog regularly, but be careful if you have joint problems, and always do so with warm water and in a warm environment. Pay attention to your nails, since now it has less activity and probably does not wear them as much as before. If you suspect that it is uncomfortable or you notice that the nail has grown inside the pad of the leg (like an ingrown human nail), take it to the vet.
Since older dogs are prone to periodontal disease and plaque buildup, it is important to take your older dog for periodic dental check-ups, in addition to their usual health checks.
Signs And Symptoms Of Aging
Besides a lot of love and proper nutrition, it is important to know what to pay attention to help your pet stay as healthy and happy as possible in their old age. It is possible that at home you notice some of the following signs of aging, that your veterinarian can help you take care of.
If you recognize any of the above symptoms, or if you are concerned about other symptoms of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, or reluctance to exercise, ask your veterinarian.
A specific diet for him, large doses of affection and regular visits to the vet will help you take care of your older dog during his last years.
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