Caring for Your Aging DogSeptember 30, 2016
Think back to when you first brought your dog home from the animal shelter and the amount of joy and energy the young animal brought to your home. As time tends to do, the years pass and the pet soon became a beloved member of your family. Maybe you breathed a sigh of relief when you realized that your puppy was outgrowing the tendency to chew on your shoes or that it no longer jumped high when you returned home, but did you start to notice the signs of aging in your furry family member?
The signs of aging can be difficult to detect in your pet, but you don’t want to miss important indications that the needs of your pet have changed. Providing proper care for your aging pet is one important way that you can return the love that they have given you throughout the years.
Ways to Care for Your Elderly Pet with Love
The dietary needs of senior animals are different than the nutritional needs of younger pets. As animals start to age, they may become less active and require fewer calories. You also want to make sure that your pet is eating a diet that will help them maintain a healthy weight to decrease the stress on their joints. Losing weight is one way to help your pet stay comfortable into their old age. Be sure to speak with your vet regarding the best diet for your pet as they will be able to recommend food that best meets the nutritional needs of your pet.
Think of Comfort
Is your dog slow to get up from laying down, does he hesitate to take the stairs they once bounded up without a second thought or do you no longer find your dog jumping up to take your spot on the couch? If you notice these changes, it could be a sign that your dog may be experiencing joint pain or arthritis. Much like in aging humans, arthritis and joint pain are common ailments in senior dogs.
Keep this in mind and pay attention changes in your dog’s habits or mobility. If your dog can no longer comfortably make it up to their favorite spot, create a new bed for them that they can access without trouble.
Senior dogs are sensitive to changes in temperature and environment, so you will need to be mindful of keeping them comfortable and safe. If your dog lives outdoors, be sure there is plenty of water and cool shade during the summer months and a warm place sheltered from rain and snow during the winter. As a dog’s metabolism slows with age, it becomes more difficult for them to regulate their temperature and so extreme weather can quickly cause dangerous conditions.
While your new puppy required a lot of time, energy and attention, your senior dog needs thoughtful and patient care. Remember, this is your chance to provide love and companionship to your furry friend that has loved you without limits.