Have you noticed that your pal has gray hairs on his muzzle or a stiff walk? Most pups hit their senior years between 7 and about 10 years of age depending on the breed. When they enter this stage of life, their needs can change. Some activities get harder for a geriatric pooch, and there may be new aches and pains.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help Fido age gracefully and have a good quality of life. Let’s take a look at seven ways to keep your senior dog happy.
#1 Add Supplements to Their Diet
As our canine companions get older, they can experience degenerative changes. Providing supplements helps to support them and may ease some of the symptoms that cause pain or discomfort.
● Fish Oil to support healthy skin, hair, and joints
● Glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent or alleviate arthritis symptoms
● Probiotics to aid digestion
#2 Adjust Their Food Regimen
In addition to adding supplements that support your geriatric pooch, you should adjust his diet. Older dogs have different nutritional needs than young, active pups. Usually, they need fewer calories, and they may also benefit from foods that are easier to chew and digest. Just feeding less food might deprive Fido of important vitamins and minerals. Try switching to a food designed for a senior dog’s nutritional needs. You may also want to use moist food that’s easier for them to chew and digest as your special pal gets older.
#3 Keep Them Physically Active
Just because your furry friend is slowing down, it doesn’t mean that he should stop being active. It’s important to provide some daily, gentle exercise to support your aging pal. Taking Fido for a walk or encouraging other low-impact movement has many benefits.
It helps with preventing weight gain and obesity
It gets the heart pumping to support cardiac health
It keeps the joints limber and can help with arthritis pain management
It helps your pal sleep better
The key to keeping your four-footed friend fit and healthy is to adjust the activities to his needs.
#4 Give Them Comfortable Bed
Puppies and young dogs can sleep just about anywhere. But as your pooch ages, hard floors can feel less forgiving. Consider getting an orthopedic dog bed for your furry friend, particularly if he suffers from arthritis pain. A soft, supportive mattress helps to ease the stresses on Fido’s joints and muscles. A quality dog bed also keeps your pup off of cold or damp surfaces which can aggravate joint aches and pains.
#5 Get a Sidekick For Them
Remember, dogs are pack animals. They love hanging out with their group of humans, but they can also thrive on being around other dogs. Many pooches find a four-footed friend comforting. A second canine gives your furbaby both a playmate and a companion. Having a young sidekick can also help boost the confidence of geriatric pups. If you’re currently a one dog family, consider getting a pet buddy for Fido.
#6 Provide Mental Stimulation
Old dogs really can learn new tricks, and it helps to keep their brains active. As with their human counterparts, dogs that stay mentally sharp can slow down the onset of senility. Some ways to help your furbaby with mental stimulation include:
Teaching your special pal a new trick like “play dead” or “roll over”
Playing games like hide and seek or find the treat
Using food puzzles
#7 Make Accommodations For Mobility Changes
As Fido ages, he may not be as steady on his feet. You can help him navigate your home with confidence by making a few changes.
If you let your furry pal on the furniture, invest in non-slip pet steps that suit his frame.
Use carpet runners on smooth floors to give your pooch better traction.
Move furniture out of the main pathways if your canine has a hard time navigating obstacles.
Provide adequate lighting around steps and inclines.
A pet portable pet ramp will come in handy to help your pup get in and out of the car. One word of warning: measure your vehicle before you buy one to avoid creating an impossibly steep incline. PetClassics.com offers a resource to help you find the right size for your car.
You Can Help Fido Age Gracefully
Just like us, getting older can be hard on our beloved canines. But we have the power to help them manage their changing physical needs with grace. Talk with your veterinarian about things you can do to assist your furry friend, and use the tips above to keep your furbaby happy and healthy in his final years.
About the author:
Dr. Guise, a veterinarian advisor for FluentWoof.com . After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.