The attitude towards pets today is that they are members of the family. When a dog gets older, it can be hard to watch them struggle with the effects of age. For this reason pet owners tend to take their animal’s senior years very seriously. Depending on the breed, this time period is between the ages of six and thirteen and he or she will experience an entirely new set of needs. Understanding and responding to these needs will help you better care of them. To help you, here is what you need to be aware of:
Watch Your Dog’s Diet
As a dog ages, their diet may change. Senior dogs can have different dietary needs than that of a young dog. Talk with your local veterinary hospital to learn about how you can better serve your dog’s nutrition needs. Keep in mind that just like humans, dogs sometimes cannot tolerate things in their diet as seniors which they could tolerate when younger. Stay vigilant to watch for items that could be having an adverse effect on your dog’s digestive system.
Watch Your Dog’s Weight
It is easy to think that a dog’s weight is not that big of a deal, but according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 53 percent of dogs are overweight. If this applies to your pup, take action. Over time, the extra weight will cause stress on your dog’s joints. In this situation, a senior dog will typically experience a decrease in metabolism which will affect their weight. Ask your vet for tips on how to maintain a proper weight for your dog’s specific breed. Making sure your dog gets frequent, appropriate exercise can also help control their weight and ease the effects of Arthritis.
Watch out for Parasites
Older dogs often have weaker immune systems, which makes vaccinations and parasite prevention even more important. During your dog’s senior years, stay extra vigilant concerning regular shots and educate yourself on other measures to avoid parasites, such as fleas, ticks and worms. Even if your dogs seemed tolerate of fleas and ticks in the past, their aged immune system may not be able to process the germs and bacteria that these parasites present.
Watch for Behavior Changes
During their senior years, dogs, like humans, may have a change in their need for interaction. If your dog shows signs of listlessness, it could be that they are in need of more love and attention from you. Make special time for one on one interaction with your pet. Plenty of petting and communication will help your dog feel loved and secure. Behavior changes in your dog can often be a sign of sickness or even depression. Be sure to talk to your vet about any of these changes.
With improved veterinarian care and better available nutrition, dogs are stretching out their life spans. Yet, it can still be pretty hard them in their old age. By following the tips above, though, you’ll help ensure that they age in a quality way.