An older dog can lead a happy and fulfilling life but it’s up to you to make the necessary adjustments. As your four-legged pal ages, you’ll have to modify their lifestyle a bit. The needs of ageing dogs are specific – they require more rest, proper nutrition and regular veterinary check-ups. By getting into these habits, you’ll be making your dog happy and potentially prolonging its life.
Regular Vet Visits
Visit your vet frequently for check-ups. Your vet will come up with a schedule – try to stick to it, even if your dog seems to be perfectly healthy.
Just like ageing humans, dogs that are growing old require specialised health exams. Most vets recommend two check-ups
on an annual basis. It’s a much better idea to identify an issue while it’s still treatable. When a medical problem becomes more prominent, it can be difficult to treat in the case of an older dog.
The usual diagnostic tests that your dog will have to undergo include bloodwork, an X-ray of a problem area or use ultrasound to examine the condition of the internal organs. If your dog has a specific problem, the vet will address that issue additionally.
Make Your Home Easily Accessible
Young puppies can climb on the sofa, jump around and access practically every corner of the house that they’re not supposed to get in. However, an older dog may experience some problems when it comes to moving around.
Make sure that all of your dog’s favourite spots are readily accessible. Non-skid carpets, portable ramps and strategic bed/toy placement could make life a whole lot easier for your dog. If you notice that your dog is avoiding a certain part of the house or a specific activity, you may want to consider modifications.
Exercise is Still Important
As they grow old, many dogs decide to trade walks and playtime with naps. Though they prefer more peaceful activities, ageing dogs are still in need of physical exercise. It will maintain health and reduce the risk of obesity.
Exercise in moderation is conducive to health and wellbeing. Stick to activities that your dog enjoys and that aren’t excessively vigorous.
For some older dogs, a daily walk in the park will be enough. Others will still want to play fetch every once in a while. Exercise keeps the muscles strong and improves the dog’s appetite and digestion. It’s crucial to get out there, even if you don’t feel like it or the weather’s poor.
Give Your Dog a Comfy Bed
As the years go by, you should consider doing a bedding upgrade.
Older dogs could experience problems like stiffness and pain. This is why they’ll no longer sprawl on the hardwood floor. Thicker and softer bedding that provides sufficient cushioning will make an ageing dog feel much more comfortable.
Many pet shops feature orthopaedic beds for older dogs. These provide sufficient support and ensure relaxing, rejuvenating naps.
There’s one final thing you need to remember when taking care of an ageing dog. Mood and behaviour changes could be indicative of a problem. This is equally valid for dogs that seem overly depressed or bored and the ones that get aggressive out of the blue. If you spot such a sudden change in your dog, make sure that you talk about it with a vet. A serious behavioural change in an older dog can be the symptom of a medical problem.