Understanding The Care Needs of Older Dogs
Aging is a natural part of life, and at some point, all canines become seniors. The important thing to know is that the care needs of older dogs are significantly different from those of the younger lot.
As your canine ages, its mobility decreases, its sight, and hearing might also decline, and it may become more vulnerable to several diseases. Nevertheless, getting older isn't something you need to be scared of because your pet can still spend its golden years happy and healthy.
To help you out, here are some ways you can take care of your senior canine.
What Happens to Aging Dogs?
As your dog ages, it will be less energetic than before. Plus, it might develop hearing problems or cataracts, and its organs might gradually stop working too. This means that older canines are at an increased risk of getting diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or become overweight.
Keep in mind that not all dogs are regarded as seniors at the same age, and it primarily depends on the dogs' breed. For instance, small breeds like Chihuahuas are regarded as old when they are around ten years of age. On the other hand, larger breeds like the Great Dame are considered old when they become around six years of age.
However, the lifestyle and genetics of your pet play a huge role in the aging process. That means that your Great Dane that's six years old can be totally healthy and show no signs of aging.
Care Needs of Older Dogs
As mentioned earlier, the care requirements of older dogs are markedly different from those of puppies and adult dogs. To ensure your senior dog stays healthy, here are some things you should do.
1. Offer an Age-Appropriate Diet
Older dogs have food-related problems like lack of appetite, digestive issues, chewing problems, and obesity. Talk to your vet regarding the best diet plan for your aging pet. Dietary changes may include increasing fiber to facilitate digestion or reducing carbs to maintain a healthy weight.
2. Exercise Your Dog
Senior dogs suffer from pain and have difficulty engaging in physical activities they previously enjoyed. Nevertheless, exercise continues to be vital to their wellbeing and health. Take your pet on short walks and monitor its gait and breathing to ensure nothing's wrong.
3. Visit the Vet More Frequently
Your canine needs to be checked at least every year if it looks healthy. This is because many diseases do not become obvious until much later. Remember, prevention is much easier and cheaper than treatment!
4. Groom It More Often
Senior dogs can also suffer from flaky, irritated, and dry skin that can worsen if you don't care for it. This means you need to brush your pet more often, especially to prevent tangles and mats.
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