How would you know if your dog has reached his seniors years? Needless to say, different species have different times of maturity but the common link between all the species is the fact that senior dogs need special care. There are a few factors that play a role in the pace at which your dog progresses towards maturity. These factors include nutrition, genetic makeup and the environment in which your dog is raised.
Why Do Senior Dogs Need Special Care?
There are a few health conditions that might crop up when your dog advances towards the older years. These can range from arthritis to dental diseases and could be quite painful to bear. There could be other issues like liver, heart and kidney problems that pose a risk to its life. This is why a senior dog needs more care and attention.
5 Essential Tips
What could you ideally do to help your senior dog? Listed below are 5 useful tips:
- Visits to the Vet
Getting your dog examined regularly can prevent complicated diseases from cropping up and also mitigate the risks of the ones that are hard to identify. It is always cheaper to prevent a disease than treating it.
- Evaluate Body Condition
Your senior dog should be regularly evaluated to find out whether it is underweight, overweight or at an ideal weight. A veterinarian is the best bet but he could teach you how to do it by yourself.
- High-Quality Diet
Senior dogs tend to become overweight if they are not fed the right kind of food. The trick is to meet all their nutritional needs while also keeping their weight balanced. Their diet should also be fortified with essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA so that health conditions like arthritis and joint problems can be prevented.
- Exercising Your Senior Dog
This could be a big challenge because the older your dog gets, the more difficult it becomes to walk it around. However, it is recommended that you start slow and increase the pace gradually. Be careful about hot and humid weather conditions that might do more harm than good.
- Dental Hygiene
Dental hygiene forms the most important part of caring for a senior dog. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to take effective care of your dog’s gums, teeth and mouth or else it could affect its liver, heart and kidneys. There are a few important steps that you must follow:
- Brush Regularly
Needless to say, brushing your dog’s teeth regularly should also continue in the senior years. Either use long-handled brushes or finger brushes or always use toothpaste meant for canines.
- Annual Cleanings
Annual cleanings of your dog’s teeth twice a year is a must in the senior years. Your vet will take a good luck at the gums and teeth to rule out any abnormalities.
- Signs of Dental Disease
There are a few signs of dental diseases that you must keep a check on. Bad breath is the first sign that is quickly followed by disinclination towards hard food, red, swollen or bleeding gums and brown-tinted teeth.
Caring for your dog in its senior years will ensure that it has a peaceful, happy and healthy life after all the love and care it has bestowed upon you in all these years! What other reasons do you need?
This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.