TEN TIPS TO HELP YOUR SENIOR DOG STAY HEALTHY
The aging process in our dogs can often have the same effects as they do on ourselves. Joints can ache, mobility can be limited, and vision and hearing can decrease. They may slow down or have less energy, but they still have lots of personality and lots of love to give.
At what age does a dog become a senior doggie citizen? Most dogs are considered seniors between the ages of 7 and 10. Larger breeds generally have shorter live spans and are considered seniors closer to 7 years of age while smaller breeds generally have longer life spans and are considered seniors closer to 10. As our dog ages, we can take simple steps to make their lives happier and healthier.
Here are 10 tips for you and your senior dog:
1) With age comes achy joints often from arthritis. Holistic therapies like massage and acupuncture can reduce pain as well as increase circulation and blood flow to joints and muscles.
2) Doggie beds with orthopedic foam or memory foam can help reduce the pressure on joints and make sleeping more comfortable especially for larger dogs.
3) Keeping your dog active is important to keep the joints and muscles moving, but don’t overdo it. Take slower more casual walks and allow them to take breaks when they need to. Find less impactful games to play with them that involve less running and chasing, and more finding and searching.
4) With decreased mobility and flexibility, your dog may have more trouble getting up on the bed or on to their favorite chair. Consider placing doggie stairs or a ramp beside beds and chairs to make it easier and safer for them.
5) Senior-proof your home. Place skid-proof rugs on slippery floors to make it safer and easier for them to get around the house. If you have a two level home, have a bed and water bowl on both levels to give them easier access to a comfortable place to rest and a more convenient place to drink.
6) Adding supplements to their food like omega-3, glucosamine and chondroitin can help their joints as well as their skin and coat. Always consult with your veterinarian to see what supplements might be best for your dog.
7) Be observant. Keeping a watchful eye on your dog, they can alert you to changes in their behavior, posture and gait that might indicate pain or illness. Watch for limping, excessive licking in one spot, or having difficulty sitting or laying down.
8) Healthy teeth can mean better health for your dog, so brush your doggies teeth regularly with doggie toothpaste and talk to your veterinarian about supplements that may help your dog reduce plaque and bacteria.
9) Keep your doggie stimulated with walks outside and dog puzzles inside. Mental stimulation will keep their minds active and keep life interesting and fun.
10) Senior dogs may become more anxious or nervous and may have a harder
time handling stress. Massage therapy can be a great help in reducing anxiety
and promoting relaxation and calm. Calming treats may also help an older, more anxious dog.
Most of all, give your dog lots of love and affection. As your dog ages, they will appreciate the extra cuddles and attention.
Senior dogs are often the last to be adopted from a shelter, so if you’re considering adopting a dog, please consider a senior.
For more information on senior dogs, check out these articles:
"Senior Dogs: Caring for Them in Their Golden Years"
“When is A Dog Considered Senior?”
“12 Ways to Have Happy Senior Dog”