A senior dog is an animal that’s lived for a long time (in dog years), which usually means it’s aged seven years or more. To take care of a senior dog, there are special considerations that must be considered.
It will be considered to be in the final stage of its life, and it could have special needs and challenges that need to be met.
It may be that you own and love a senior dog, and wish to create a cozy haven for its final years.
If so, this article will tell you how to properly take care of your beloved canine.
Buy A Dog Ramp
A dog ramp is a device that can be used to help canines climb in and out of cars, and up and downstairs.
They can be purchased at most pet stores or online, and are often inexpensive.
These products are especially beneficial for senior dogs if:
- they have difficulty getting around without assistance due to injuries (e.g., broken hips)
- you reside in an apartment building lacking an elevator
- you have more than one floor in your home/apartment complex
- you want your dog safely transported
It’s important to consider the size of your dog: the ramp should be long enough for him/her to walk comfortably on it, but not too wide or tall that it becomes difficult to use.
The internet can help you find the best dog ramps for cars, SUVs, and trucks, and ones designed for large canines.
There are many articles on finding the perfect ramp, considering the weight limit, and making sure it’s portable and durable.
Let Your Vet See It Regularly
A vet is your best friend when it comes to taking care of a senior dog.
You need to make sure that it has regular check-ups to ensure there are no health problems.
The vet can also reveal any issues early on, so they can be treated before they get worse.
A vet should see your pet at least once every six months for heartworm tests as well as overall physicals.
This may include teeth cleaning or blood work (plus annual vaccinations).
At these appointments, your vet will do more than simply give medication – they will let you know what foods would be best for your dog.
Your vet can also let you know if it needs to take vitamins or anything else to keep it healthy.
Keep Your Eye Out For Issues
As a pet owner, you should always be vigilant for any symptoms or health concerns.
As dogs get older, they can be more prone to certain issues like arthritis, dental problems, or even cancer.
It’s therefore important to be looking out for anything strange and to take immediate action if necessary.
Another thing to watch out for is fleas or ticks; these pests can cause all sorts of problems for senior dogs – including skin irritation, infection, and even paralysis.
Be sure to use a good flea/tick preventative and check your dog regularly for any signs of infestation.
Look After Its Teeth And Nails
Teeth problems are common in older dogs, so it’s important to keep them clean and healthy and to be on the lookout for any signs of trouble.
Some common teeth problems in senior dogs include tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar build-up.
All of these can lead to pain and discomfort for your pet, as well as serious health problems down the road.
For this reason, you need to brush your dog’s teeth regularly (at least once a week) and give it dental chews or treats.
Just like our nails, dog nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis.
If left untrimmed, they can grow too long and curl under the paw, which is both painful and difficult to fix.
To trim your dog’s nails, you will need some clippers (either animal or human nail clippers will work).
Be very careful when clipping your dog’s nails – if you cut too close to the quick (the blood vessels and nerve endings in the nail), it will hurt your pet and may cause bleeding.
Keep It Well Fed And Hydrated
As dogs age, their digestive system slows down, and they can start having trouble digesting food properly.
This often results in runny stools or diarrhea (which is something else you should be regularly checking for).
In order to prevent this, you should make sure your dog eats high-quality food that is easily digestible.
A food that is high in fiber and low in fat is a good option for a senior dog.
You should also avoid giving them table scraps or anything that is high in salt or sugar.
Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water, too.
This is because dehydration can be a big problem for elderly dogs.
Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry mouth and skin, lethargy, and seizures.
If you think your dog might be dehydrated, take it to the vet right away.
Keep Your Dog Active
Dogs need exercise just as much as they need food, and it’s especially important for older canines.
It helps keep their muscles strong, their joints healthy, and can help prevent obesity (which is a common problem among aging dogs).
A moderate amount of exercise will be enough for most seniors – something like a 20-minute walk each day should do the trick.
This can be difficult if your pet has mobility problems as it gets older. It’s important for you to use common sense when exercising it.
Take things slow and ensure your dog’s safety at all times.
Think About Sleep And Mental Stimulation
Senior dogs sleep a lot compared to younger ones, but it doesn’t mean that they do it all the time.
They need sufficient sleep for their bodies to rest well, and then they’ll be ready for mental stimulation once they awaken (e.g. toys, play, walks).
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the many ways that you can take care of a senior dog.
In return for some care and attention, your senior dog will live out its days as happy and well as it can possibly be.