Dogs are fun and exciting to be around until they get old and slow. Most people will enjoy playing with puppies and young dogs because they are full of energy and have few to no unique care demands. Unfortunately, dogs do not stay young forever, and with time, they get old and slow down. While this is sad, it is inevitable, and the best a pet owner can do is take care of their friend in their old age and ensure their nutritional needs are met.
With a superior approach, giving an aged dog, the best care can get as it ages gracefully. The point is to keep it as comfortable as possible. You may have to include superior nutrition to match the needs of the aging pet. Below are nutrition tips that work for senior dogs.
1. Find Age-Appropriate Diets and Temperatures
Depending on the dog’s age, a pet is aged when it gets to anything from 5 to 10 years. Smaller breeds pass for senior dogs when they attain the age of 10 or 11 years. Mid-sized dogs get old when they are 8 to 10 years, while large dogs become old when they are past five years old. Unfortunately, age in dogs comes with its challenges. In most cases, the dog slows down because of reduced energy levels. It may also suffer from several conditions, including obesity, liver, and kidney issues, because most body organs stop functioning. Such a stage in the dog’s life can be challenging, especially if it does not get proper care and nutrition.
Dog owners should ensure that their pets eat the right food and stay warm and cozy. Ensure they get the right supplements for bone health and lubricated joints, supplements for anxiety or if they show signs of panic. There are different types of foods available for dogs of different ages. Senior dogs must feed on food meant for their age to help them digest it better since they will not be as agile as younger. When dealing with cold temperatures, especially during harsh weather seasons, consider buying winter dog jackets for your dog. Doing this ensures that they enjoy maximum comfort and keeps them away from diseases such as pneumonia and other complications that may be accelerated by harsh weather conditions. When considering food, make sure it is the type of food that will help the dog stay warm and comfortable. This may not be the time to feed it food that is likely to cool them down. Consult with your vet to find out which foods work best for your dog before making any moves.
2. Watch the Dog’s Weight
Like most older adults, dogs will struggle when they get older. They also experience pain and discomfort when doing physical activities that they comfortably handled before. Make sure to be gentle with your dog at this stage of its life. After feeding it with the right food, please make a point of gently getting it to exercise.
Go on short walks and be very gentle with it. Assist it whenever there is a need to do so because if it is very advanced in age, mostly beyond 15 years, it may struggle with its eyesight and weight. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dog is in top shape. The last thing needed is to accumulate unnecessary excess weight that may be a problem for its health. Invest in the right assistive gear to help your dog feel comfortable when walking. Obesity can be a significant challenge since it is crippling.
3. Focus on Dental Health
When it comes to dental care, most people neglect their dogs, especially when they are old and grumpy. Unfortunately, this is a sad thing to do, considering that old dogs need to have all their teeth intact to chew food better. It is not surprising to see a senior dog without several teeth. Sadly, this hinders their ability to chew food properly and may affect their metabolism, causing more complications.
To avoid this, pet owners should prioritize dental health in their senior dogs as much as they do for younger pups. It is a good idea to schedule a vet’s visit often since this helps you manage the issue professionally. The vet will also keep track of the dog’s immunity and advise accordingly. Senior dogs need even more care, and a regular checkup after every six months is recommended.
4. Groom Your Pet
While this may not affect its nutrition directly, it interferes with the dog’s well-being. Besides dental care, brushing works well in making sure your senior dog is clean. Vaccination is right, but it does not stop the dog from suffering from flea and bug attacks. An old dog is already struggling with issues and cannot withstand additional pressure from pest infestation.
When the pests are too many, your dog may fail to eat well and eventually become malnourished, which is a risk state for a senior dog. Invest in the right products to clean and repel bugs and fleas. Brush the dog’s coat regularly for a smooth finish too. This is the time your dog needs all the pampering it can get.
It is only fair that you treat your senior dog with respect and concern. After all, it has probably served you faithfully, and its last years should be comfortable and safe for it. Treat the senior dog, and you did in its younger years, and it will love you till its demise.