It all begins subtly. Some day or another, you notice grey hairs on the snout of your furry friend. The next thing you know, they aren’t as active as they used to be, they are no longer responding to you as well and are having a difficult time getting up.
You also start noticing lumps along with poor coat conditions (such as a dry coat, itchy skin, flakes, hair loss etc.), an increase in body weight, cloudiness in their eyes, frequent bathroom breaks and the fact that they are generally slowing down at everything they do.
While there is no way to stop your pet from aging, there are some things that you can do to ease them into retirement and keep them happy and healthy for years to come.
Schedule regular visits to your vet to get the best advice on your dog’s daily routine. These regular medical exams give you and your dog the benefits of catching any age-related health problems at an early stage.
Stay on top of parasite control because as the dogs start to age, their immune system gets weaker and with that the potential health risks caused by fleas, ticks etc. rise up. Talk to your vet about the safest preventive measures.
Keep your dog at an ideal body weight since overweight dogs have a higher incidence of diseases. Reduce their fat and calorie intake by serving them food in smaller quantities and more frequently. You can also look into dry food alternatives like canned and raw food.
Exercising your senior dog both physically and mentally is another way to keep your dog lean while maintaining healthy joints and muscles. Your dog might be slowing down but that’s no excuse for letting him rest all day.
Look out for signs of arthritis which is a common ailment in older pets and is generally indicated by limping, difficulty climbing stairs, tiredness, licking, biting etc. Though arthritis cannot be cured, there are certain remedies that can help ease the pain.
Provide a private place to your senior dog where he can feel safe. Make sure this place is located in a warm, quiet area since old dogs can easily be overwhelmed by the people and activity in your home. Also, get him an orthopedic bed if possible.
As much as we would like to deny it, we as pet parents have always struggled to realize that our dog is getting older. But the signs don’t lie, neither does the fact that with aging, your dog’s health can deteriorate and though there’s little you can do to avert it, you can most definitely help slow down the aging process. Believe me, this will mean a world to your loyal friend.