Your Older Dog Can Live a Happy, Active Life
4 Tips for Your Senior Older Dog
If you own an older dog, you probably know that older dogs, as opposed to their younger counterparts, have their own set of unique needs and requirements. If you are concerned about keeping your older dog healthy and are wondering if you are doing everything possible to help keep him or her in good health, here is a list of actions that you can put into practice to ensure your dog’s continuing health.
Exercise for older dogs is very important, and much more important than many dog owners realize. Structured exercise–such as a daily walk–is important for the health of older dogs, because as dogs age, they become more susceptible to injuries, particularly to their joints. If an older dog is not getting adequate exercise, their bones can become weaker than they should be, which can lead to unnecessary injuries and pain. In addition, older dogs need daily exercise, because if they are not exercising regularly, they can become overweight, which can lead to numerous health problems, both in their joints and bones as well as in their cardiovascular system. The actual amount of exercise that your older dog will need is dependent on the breed of your dog and its age, so make sure to consult with your veterinarian before putting together an exercise plan for him or her.
2. The type and amount of food
that you feed your older dog is very important as well. Many older dogs need changes in their dietary habits to stay healthy. For instance, rather than feeding your dog one large meal in the morning or the evening, consider splitting up his or her daily eating regimen into two smaller meals–one in the morning, and one in the evening. The type of food your older dog should eat will be dependent upon its breed and size, so again, make sure to consult with your veterinarian and get professional advice about which type of food would be most beneficial for your specific dog. Just make sure not to overfeed your dog. Keep track of how much he or she has been eating, and if you see any noticeable changes in his or her weight, make sure to adjust the amount of food you are providing accordingly. Also, some older dogs, particularly those with joint and/or bone problems can benefit greatly from the use of dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help with conditions such as arthritis.
3. Be observant.
One of the keys to keeping your dog healthy is making sure that you are attentive to any changes that your dog is going through. For instance, if you are feeding your dog the proper amount of food over an extended period of time, but you notice that your dog’s weight is still fluctuating up or down beyond what is normal, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. The same goes for if you notice and sudden or severe changes in your dog’s urinary patterns and/or bowel movements. Older dogs can often suffer from problems such as congestive health failure, arthritis and hip dysplasia, and kidney failure, but if you are observant of your dog’s condition and make sure to get him or her to the vet as soon as you see any potential warning signs, you can help to nip some problems in the bud and keep your dog from going through unnecessary pain and medical procedures.
4. Your veterinarian matters.
Make sure that you have a working relationship with the best possible veterinarian in your area, since your vet will be the one guiding you through taking care of your dog in his or her twilight years. Make sure to find a vet that is both professional and caring. If your relationship with your veterinarian is not working out, ask the other dog owners in your area who they go to for their dogs. Many times, word of mouth is the strongest and most credible recommendation available.