Depending on your dogs breed, they can be considered ‘’senior’’ from the age 6 and upwards. This may seem like nothing to the average human, but a small dog may start showing signs of ageing from this age onwards which can affect the quality of their lives if not addressed.
Your dog may not realise he’s getting older at all and he won’t be worried about a few grey hairs like we do. He won’t worry at all that maybe he can’t chase his ball as many times before being puffed out and he definitely won’t put an aching joint down to the fact that he’s ‘’getting on a bit!’’. Your dog lives in the now and looks to you for his care, so anything you can do to help him live a healthier, pain free old age he will love you for.
Upgrade His Bedding
As your dog gets older, he’s more likely to suffer from aching joints and be affected by the cold. Lying out on a hardwood floor is not likely to do him much good so ensure he has a thick, warm bed that will support his ageing body. Add in an extra blanket in the winter, especially if he’s a short haired breed.
Keep Walks Frequent but Lower the Intensity
Give him too much exercise and you could increase joint problems and too little -- your dog’s muscles and flexibility can diminish. Regular walks will keep your senior dogs appetite up, improve mood, decrease boredom and prevent obesity.
Supplement Your Ageing Dogs Diet
Natural health supplements like Deer Velvet, omega 3 fish oil or a glucosamine supplement, may assist your dog’s joints in moving freely and without pain. You don’t have to wait until your dog gets arthritis or experiences joint pain to use them, it’s advised to start supplementing early as these products work better as preventatives than therapies.
Consider a Dog Coat
Just like a human, as a dog ages he may have trouble maintaining his body temperature. This could be even more of a problem for short haired breeds or smaller dogs. Check out the range of dog jackets at your local pet store and even consider dog boots if you live in an area prone to snow.
Make Your Home More Accessible
If your ageing dog loves to get on the sofa, he may find jumping up a problem the older he gets. Consider building him steps or a ramp out of soft bedding, to help him up when you’re not there. If you have some spare cash, you could invest in a portable dog ramp which can fold away when not in use.
Adjust His Diet
The big mistake many pet owners make is; continually feeding the same amount of calories as their pet does less exercise into old age. An older dog may need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight and excess weight will just hinder movement even more. One point to consider is; if they are being fed less, they may be getting less nutrients, therefore you should consider supplementing their diet with a natural health supplement.