Just like humans, all dogs age, and unfortunately, they do so at a quicker rate. It’s your job as a pet owner to nurture and take care of your dog into its later years. Older dogs will require a different level of care than they did as a puppy. They may have a loss of hearing, sight, or a range of physical challenges, and you’ll need to adapt your care accordingly.
That said, there’s no reason why your dog can’t still live a fulfilled and happy life as a senior. By considering these tips, you can ensure that your dog is comfortable as they age.
How dogs age
Depending on the breed of your dog, their average lifespan and genetics will vary. Certain kinds tend to be hardier and can live into their 20s. Others are considered senior by age 6. Generally, pure breeds will have genetic ailments that are more common amongst them. For instance, Labradors and retrievers often develop arthritis, and bulldogs and pugs develop breathing problems.
Identifying the issues your dog may face going into old age will allow you to take measures to slow them and keep them healthier longer.
As your dog transitions through different stages of their life, you will need to adapt their diet accordingly. A young dog is quite active and also needs different nutrients as their bodies develop. Older dogs are prone to obesity since they are less active, so therefore the food should contain fewer calories but different types of nutrients. Beyond that, older dogs can develop allergies or sensitivities to certain substances, and you may need specialized food for them.
An overweight dog can face similar health conditions to an overweight human. Especially as dogs age, it’s essential to make sure they get steady exercise every day. Taking them for walks or jogs will allow their organs and muscles to maintain their health longer. If they have any physical health problems or joint pain, you may need to take it easier with them, but some movement each day is essential.
Make them comfortable
If your dog does suffer from any physical or mental ailments, it’s crucial to adapt their care accordingly. If they struggle with stairs, make sure they have access to everything they need on one floor. You can also make ramps so they can get over small steps, or up onto the bed. If they have severe joint pain or arthritis, then offer them treats infused with CBD, like those from ceebeedoo.com, to give them natural pain relief.
If they’re losing their eyesight, shift your room layouts to be easier to navigate for them. Dogs may struggle walking on slick floors as they age, so installing carpets will help them with their footing.
Spend time with them
Most importantly, love and spend time with your dog. Dogs crave companionship and can become anxious, especially in old age, when they are left alone. Your presence will keep them happy and at ease. It can be emotionally challenging to watch your dog go through changes, but your support will help them live a more fulfilled life.