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Taking care of your dog can be very challenging at times. The older the dog gets, the more responsibilities you have around him. It is very important to have a good spirit about taking care of your dog because it can be sometimes very frustrating. Here are some ideas that can hopefully help you with your elderly dog.
When Does a Dog Become a Senior?
The first two years of a dog’s life are roughly equivalent to ten human years. After three years of age, your dog’s life moves at a slower pace, with one human year equaling four canine years. However, because size, food, and health history all have a part in your dog’s age, this formula does not apply to every dog. Small canines between the ages of 10 and 12 are called seniors. Between the ages of 8 and 9, medium dogs reach senior status. When gigantic canines reach the age of 5 to 6 years, they are considered senior dogs.
However, if your dog has had (or now has) a health problem, this can speed up the aging process, such as:
- Having difficulty seeing or hearing clearly
- Gaining weight
- Lower energy
- Arthritis or joint discomfort
- Teeth that are yellowing and worn down
- Loss of fur
- Moving at a slower pace
- Sleeping more
Like with any pet animal one of the most important things is for it to frequently exercise. Regular exercise will assist your dog in maintaining its optimal weight while also improving its general health. You can speak with your veterinarian about a recommended exercise regimen based on your dog’s health and restrictions. Be patient, start gently, and gradually increase your dog’s stamina with daily walks and brief jogs if they can run. Because a dog’s energy levels decrease as they mature, even if your puppy was able to run for half an hour before, they may not be able to do so as they become older.
Even as your dog gets older, a well-balanced diet is critical to their health. Because they no longer have the same levels of energy as younger dogs, older dogs are more likely to become obese. You can check at Petzyo what is best suited for a senior dog’s diet. To avoid weight gain, it is essential to choose the best dog food that is specifically developed for senior dogs. These are generally low in fat and calories and will supplement your dog’s nutritional requirements. And, because older dogs are more likely to develop a problem, you should visit your veterinarian to see if your dog requires a specific type of senior dog food.
Many of the changes you notice in your dog are visible from the outside. Others are hidden and less visible. These changes, however, must be accounted for in your dog’s dry food.
Smaller Kibble Size
Your dog’s teeth will naturally wear down over time. Dental discomfort is also more common in older canines. Switching your senior dog to an easier-to-chew kibble can help ease these difficulties by allowing them to eat their meal more thoroughly and comfortably. Not only should your senior dog consume tiny, easier-to-chew kibble, but their food should also help to remove tartar and plaque. Your dog’s life may be cut short due to dental problems. This is because their bodies send out white blood cells to combat infection; nevertheless, these blood cells chip away at your dog’s gums, allowing bacteria to enter the body. After that, the bacterium makes its way to important organs. Cleaning your teeth lowers your chances of infection and dental discomfort.
The metabolism of senior dogs slows down naturally as they age, and they also become less active. Both of these factors indicate that your dog needs fewer calories per day. Your dog would acquire weight if they continued to consume the same number of calories as they did when they were younger. Most older dogs require 20% fewer calories than they did when they were younger.
Senior dogs require high-quality protein-rich meals to prevent muscle loss. This is about more than just your dog’s muscular tone; it’s also about their immune system. Dogs’ immune systems can’t operate at full capacity when their muscular mass declines. As a result, they are more susceptible to diseases, stress, and the inability to recover from trauma. The majority of older dogs require a 25 percent protein diet.
Fiber can aid in the digestion of your senior dog’s diet (reducing the likelihood of constipation). Fiber can also help a senior dog on a calorie-restricted diet feel fuller while consuming fewer calories. However, not all dogs require more fiber as they become older. A fuller sensation may not be beneficial to naturally skinny dogs. In addition, not all fibers are made equal. Low-quality fiber might make it more difficult to digest food and get nutrients from it.
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Joint and Immunity Support
As dogs get older, they require a little more joint and immune support. As a result, check to see if your dog’s food contains Omega 3s and Omega 6s, as well as vitamins and minerals for proper cell activity. You should also remember that antioxidants are your dog’s best buddy.
Regular Vet Checkups
When it comes to caring for elderly pets, regular vet treatment is one of the most important things to remember. Your dog’s immune system weakens as they become older, making them more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. That’s why most veterinarians recommend bringing an older dog in for a six-month checkup. This will allow your veterinarian to determine whether anything is wrong with your dog right away and provide the best treatment available.
Maintain Oral Health
Because most older dogs do not receive adequate dental care during their adult lives, it is normal to see them with a few missing teeth. Dental hygiene is an important aspect of grooming and should be practiced regularly beginning at a young age. You should brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day, and if he doesn’t like it, start offering him dental goodies. You should also take your dog to the vet once a year to get their teeth cleaned by a specialist.
Your dog’s hair and skin deteriorate as they age, and a formerly luxuriant and shiny coat might become drab and brittle. Seniors’ skin may be dry, flaky, and irritating, and if not properly cared for, it can worsen. That means you’ll have to brush your dog frequently, especially to avoid mats and tangles. When a dog molts, the loose hair can become tangled, causing matting, which, if not brushed away regularly, can worsen, tugging on the dog’s skin and causing uncomfortable sore spots. It has been known for it to grow so severe that big sores develop, which may then become infected, and all of this is concealed behind their fur, so if you don’t check your dog regularly, you might miss it. It is also advisable to use only natural shampoos to nurture and cure sensitive skin and hair.
Vaccination and Parasite Protection
When it comes to flea, tick, and worm protection, your dog’s age is irrelevant. As a result, you should continue to give suitable therapies in the same manner as before. When it comes to immunizations, however, senior dogs do not require them at the same time intervals as younger dogs. Once every three years is usually sufficient, but you should visit your veterinarian because they will know what is best for your dog’s specific needs.
Provide Suitable Accommodation
Arthritis and other bone and joint issues in older dogs can limit their movement. In addition, a blind dog will have difficulty climbing onto the bed or sofa at night. Soft bedding and an easily available bed that does not involve leaping or climbing will help your dog in these situations. Climbing up and down the stairs might also be tough for your dog, so that should be avoided.
If your dog is unable to avoid using the steps, you may purchase or construct a doggie ramp to help them travel more easily. Another option is to build doggie-proof gates and limit their access to the stairwell. If at all feasible, you’ll need to relocate your dog’s bed, food, and water bowls downstairs. Also, placing carpets and rugs throughout the house might assist arthritic dogs in gaining their footing and easing their movements. Because some elderly dogs can become fully blind, you’ll want to make sure they can traverse the house. That means you shouldn’t change furniture since it will confuse your dog and lead them to accidentally crash into objects.
Spend Time with Your Dog
Although aging is a natural process, it may be tough and sad to see your pet dog go through the changes that come with it. The greatest thing you can do is enjoy the present moment and appreciate all of your memories and days spent with your dog. If they don’t detect their owner around, an elderly dog might quickly become nervous, which makes them fearful. As a result, strive to spend as much time as possible with your dog.
We will all one day be old and in a sense helpless, just as we will need help so do our lovely pets. There needs to be a lot to be done so that your dog gets the proper care it needs, but that should not be a problem if you care for your dog.