It’s a dog’s life…
It’s senior dog month, so we thought we’d share with you some tips and advice to help you care for your older dog.
Diet and weight
As our dogs get older they can start to put on weight. Age tends to bring with it lower levels of exercise, and fewer calories being burned. Specialist senior diets are often lower in calories and help older dogs to control their weight. Once your dog reaches the age of 7 or 8, it’s important to have regular consultations with your vet to make sure your dog is on the right diet. It’s also possible for older dogs to lose weight. Weight loss or gain may not just be down to old age, so it’s always worth getting any changes in weight levels checked by your veterinary team.
Joints and muscles
Age can cause deterioration in a dog’s joints and muscles. A run around the park might become a walk around the block, especially if your dog is suffering from joint pain such as arthritis. Dogs which struggle to run and jump like they used to may be in pain. Even things like getting onto the sofa or out of the car can become a chore for older dogs, but treatments are available to help them regain some of their mobility. Even your senior dog will benefit from exercise – just at a gentler pace. Two or three short walks a day can be easier on joints than one long walk.
You may notice changes in the behaviour of your older dog. For example, they may become disorientated more easily, may sleep more during the day and wake in the night and lose interest in interacting with the people around them. These behavioural changes can be a sign of senility, but there are treatments available for dogs who aren’t able to process information the way they once could. Your older dog is likely to still enjoy play, and you should still have plenty of toys on hand to keep them entertained. Food puzzles or maze bowls can keep your dog stimulated and ensure they don’t get bored.
To ensure your older dog receives the best care, keep an eye out for changes in their body condition and behaviour and consult your team if you notice anything out of the ordinary.