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How to Care for Your Senior Dog

Golden Retriever at sunset

 

As a pet owner, it can be really tough to watch your dog age. Things like decreased mobility, digestive problems, and a lack of energy can have you yearning for those carefree puppy years once again.

The good news, however, is that with a little extra care and attention, you can keep your aging dog happy and comfortable for many years to come! Here’s 7 quick tips for caring for your senior dog.

Begin a Glucosamine Regime

Glucosamine has a multitude of benefits for aging dogs, especially those that suffer from arthritis. This supplement can help keep your dog’s joints lubricated and healthy so he can still do the things he loves like climbing steps or jumping onto the couch.

Our all-natural glucosamine supplement has the added benefit of organic turmeric which helps reduce inflammation.

Even if you aren’t seeing early signs of arthritis like stiffness or decreased mobility in your dog, it’s not a bad idea to start giving glucosamine as a preventative measure. Our specific formula is developed into soft chew “treats” so they are fun for your pup to eat!

Provide a Healthy Diet

It may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure your dog is eating properly will ensure he stays healthy and nourished. If your dog is overweight, it’s time to make some serious changes. Similar to humans, obesity in pets can drastically shorten their lifespan, and naturally, the extra weight can further aggravate symptoms of arthritis.

According to the ASPCA, the goal of feeding your senior dog should be to maintain optimum body weight, slow the development of chronic disease and/or minimize any diseases or complications that may already be present.

Many pet food brands make a senior dog formula- talk with your vet about the right diet to be feeding your dog as he continues to age.

Regular Vet Visits

As your dog enters his senior years, it’s crucial to stay on top of his yearly visits to the vet. In fact, once your dog is considered a senior (usually beginning around 7 years of age), it’s recommended to take your pup for a well visit every 6 months. Here, your vet can make sure to identify any early signs of health problems and make individualized recommendations to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Implement Healthy Exercise Regimen

Even as your dog ages, it’s extremely important to continue with a healthy exercise regimen. Regular exercise will help maintain your dog’s weight and overall health, but it’s important to be realistic with exercise expectations with a senior dog.

If your dog hasn’t been exercising regularly, it’s time to start easing back into things. Consider lower impact exercise like a short walk or even a swim at the lake. Gradually you can build up to longer walks and even romps at the local dog park, as long as that’s something you both enjoy!

Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene

Dental and gum disease is very common in older pets and can pose a number of health risks. Be sure to continue brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, and have your vet do an oral examination at his visits to identify any potential issues.

Dental disease is very painful for dogs and can affect their willingness to eat and groom themselves. Left untreated, teeth can even begin to decay and break, which will further exacerbate problems with eating. If you cannot brush your dog’s teeth, consider special dental treats or toys that may help keep the teeth clean.

Comfort is Key

One of the best things you can do for your aging pet is ensure he is as comfortable as possible. Of course, regular vet visits, exercise, and proper nutrition will all contribute to your pet’s overall comfort level.

If you notice your pup having a hard time getting around in his old age, provide a soft bed on the floor that doesn’t require jumping. If stairs become an issue, it may be time to move all essentials to one level, including food and water.

When stairs cannot be avoided, one option is to look into purchasing (or making) a special ramp to help your dog navigate levels a little easier.

Provide Unconditional Love

Aside from maintaining proper health care, one of the best things you can do for your dog as he ages is continue to provide unconditional love and companionship. Even if your dog begins to lose hearing or sight at the years go on, his mental and emotional well being depends on your love and support. Go ahead, spoil that sweet pupper!