Caring for an Older Dog

Photo: Byronv2

Photo: Byronv2

Is your pup starting to get a little gray around the muzzle? We've got some great tips for senior dog care below that will help your best friend transition gracefully into a healthy, happy, and active lifestyle in their golden years.

Exercise Keeps the Tail Wagging
You know those 70-year-old yogis who move like they're thirty? Exercise keeps them limber and strong, and the same principle applies to dogs. Your pooch may be slowing down a little bit, but keeping him active by taking him on short hikes or bringing him to the beach will improve his circulation and strengthen his joins, tendons, and muscles. Swimming is a particularly great exercise for older dogs as it is the least impactful, but still provides both aerobic and anaerobic workouts.

Adjusting Your Dog's Diet
As dogs age, they tend to put on more body fat despite the fact that they consume less. By introducing food that is higher in protein and lower in fat contents, you can prevent unnecessary weight gain in your dog (along with daily exercise). Make sure the food has plenty of antioxidants and vitamins C and E, and consult your veterinarian about the correct amount of food to feed your aging dog. Underfeeding your pooch is just as harmful as overfeeding her, so talking to your vet about food ratio specific to your dog's breed, size, and age will ensure that she gets the correct amount of nutrients needed.

Wise Old Thing
Along with physical exercise, your aging dog needs just as much mental exercise. Keep his brain active by teaching him new tricks (old dogs can learn new tricks!) and introducing new, mentally stimulating activities to keep his mind active and young. A great form of brain play to introduce is a treat puzzle—these games will teach him to think logically as well as reinforce his paw-eye coordination so his mind will stay as agile as a young pup's.

Regular Vet Visits
The older your dog gets, the more there is that can happen in between vet visits. You should take your senior dog for a check up at least once every six months and make mental or written notes of any drastic changes in your pooch's health or demeanor between visits. And last but not least, don't neglect your dog's teeth! We have a comprehensive guide in canine dental care, so be sure to read up on it and brush your pooch's pearly whites daily.

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Published on by Beatrix Chan.

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