There are an increasing number of older pets within the UK. Dogs are living much longer through to improvements in veterinary science, nutrition and home comforts, Many of our older dogs still have plenty of life in them, but they may have special considerations that are required to keep their senior years happy and healthy ones.
Signs of getting older
One of the factors that affect the rate at which our dogs age is their size. Giant breeds, like Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes, tend to get in their senior years after about six years of age while smaller breeds like Pomeranians are just about middle age then. Whatever kind of dog you have, the senior years seem to be marked with tiredness. He/she may be slower in getting up and moving about, hesitant to go up or down stairs and having difficulty getting comfortable to sleep, showing signs of joint problems. Dental problems are another issue that older dogs can experience. If not treated, then your dog may have problems eating.
How to care for an older dog
There are plenty of things can be done to help our elderly canine friends to help keep their lives more comfortable for longer. First thing you should always do, even if your dog is healthy, is make sure he/she is seen by the Vet yearly. This will ensure that good health is being maintained and any issues can be addressed. Our dogs can’t tell us when they’re feeling poorly, so regular Vet checks are essential.Many vet practices now run "Senior Pet Clinics" where you can have regular check ups with your vet practice with advice on many of the conditions that affect older dogs, such as diabetes, arthritis and cancers.
Senior dogs may also need to have their diet altered slightly as they get older. There are special blends for dogs who may be overweight and for those who are losing weight. If your dog is having joint problems, this diet may be supplemented with glucosamine. You may also find that if they have lost teeth, they will struggle to eat kibbles so you may need to opt for a softer food. (They will always manage their favourite Barker & Barker natural dog treats!
It is really important to make sure that you continue to ensure your dog gets exercise, whether you go for walk, perhaps a little shorter , or play with toys at home, they will still need to keep active! You may find that your older pet wants to sleep more, so make sure your best friend has a comfortable place to rest, and as their joints age they may not be able to jump, so make sure it is accessible!
Finally, even if you find your older dog has lost teeth, you need to make sure you brush your dog’s teeth!
If you are concerned about your older dog's health at any time, it is important to get some advice from your vet.
Posted On: 07/08/2017