Three Helpful Tips When Caring For Your Aging Dog

September 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Dogs

Caring For Your Aging Dog

Guest Post by Morgan Sims

Having a dog as part of your family is a fulfilling, enjoyable experience for everyone, dogs and humans alike. Both you and your dog will benefit from having unconditional love and companionship. However, one downside of letting the family pup into your heart is that he won’t live as long as you do, and eventually you will find yourself providing extra care for your four-legged buddy as he ages. All dogs need to have good care, but here are three things you can do to make your aging dogs final years both enjoyable and rewarding.

Picture via Handi Ramps

Reduce The Risk Of Injury

Older dogs require more thought than younger ones when it comes to their activity level. It may be tempting to nix the daily walk all together once your best friend starts to weaken with age, but don’t stop just yet. In reality, maintaining a consistent exercise regimen will actually increase their longevity and enhance their mental clarity.

Older dogs often start having problems with their hips and joints and may be diagnosed with arthritis. This is a common problem. And the heavier your dog is, the more likely he will suffer from these problems. He may need a little extra help getting around the house than he used to as he ages. Household add-ons like pet ramps or pet will help him do the things that a simple hop used to achieve, such as laying on the couch, getting in and out of the family vehicle, and walking up and down steps. Installing these simple ramps throughout your home will reduce the risk of injury to dogs with conditions like osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and other common ailments. The biggest thing you want to achieve is minimizing how much jumping your dog has to do. Even just purchasing pet stairs for such things as helping them climb up onto your bed can be a big help for them.

Image via Flickr by Quasic

Monitor Food Intake and Diet Requirements

While maintaining a proper diet is crucial at any age, feeding Fido the right way as he ages can make a tremendous impact on his energy level. Many brands make formulas for aging dogs, as their needs change over their lifetime. Check with your veterinarian and follow their advice; after all, they have a vested interest in the overall health of your dog, and have likely been treating your dog for many years. As mentioned earlier, you will want to keep your dog at a healthy weight as he ages as well. This is because overweight dogs are more prone to health and movement disorders.

Another point to mention is the use of elevated dog bowls. As dogs age they have a harder and harder time bending over to eat and drink, and it can be a big help to simply provide them with elevated dog dishes. This will reduce their need to bend over as much and reduce strain on their joints!

There are so many theories out there on the best diet for dogs that it’s probably going to be difficult to decide what’s right for you and yours. If you have a smartphone, you can easily get more advice on diet requirements and even make use of the many apps that are available for calculating canine diets. Just as there are calorie counter applications for humans, many dog diet calculators are available as well! They can be pretty handy!

Image via Flickr by Bekathwia

Make Them Comfortable

As your dog ages, he will become less likely to want to play along and keep up with the rest of the family. Keep him comfortable by providing a comfortable place to lay such as a memory foam bed in each room of the house he frequents. When he weas younger it may have sufficed to keep your dog bed in the living room or bedroom, but now it might be a good idea to place one in each room of the house. This way, no matter where he goes, your aging dog will have a soft place to lay down. He also won’t have to lay directly on the floor or walk across the house get to his bed.

Watching your dog go through the aging process can be a slow and painful experience for both him and your family. Understanding what he is going through, anticipating his needs, and doing everything in your power to ease his pain and make him comfortable will surely make your final years together enjoyable ones.

Morgan Sims is a writer and recent graduate who loves all things tech and social media. When she’s not trying out new gadgets and tweeting from her Samsung Galaxy S4, she spends most of her time with her mini doxie, cooking, and staying active. Follow her @MorganSims00

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