Tips for Caring for Your Senior Pet

Senior pets tend to have requirements that are very different from the requirements of a young pet. This isn’t surprising, of course. It can, however, be complicated to know when your dog is actually a ‘senior.’ It all depends on the type of dog.

Generally speaking, dogs that are of giant breeds age relatively faster than those that are of a smaller breed. Large breed dogs, on the other hand, fall somewhere in between these two.

What Affects the Health of a Senior Pet?

A number of factors impact how fast your dog ages. These include his genetics, the food that he eats, and his environment.

What Changes as a Dog Ages

You should be prepared for certain changes in your dog as he ages. For example, your furry friend may develop some sort of degenerative disease, such as arthritis, that could possibly cause him to become slow or not quite as active as he was before.

You might notice small changes in his demeanor, such as the fact that he will not be able to be as playful as before, will not be running around as often, etc. He might tire easily, might find it difficult to walk for very long, etc. He may even find it difficult to sleep comfortably at night and may display a reluctance to climb stairs or even enter and exit the car like he once used to.

Dental Problems

Other than these physical disabilities, it’s possible for your pet to encounter oral hygiene problems as well if these issues were not addressed over its lifetime. If you do not take any special care of your dog’s dental hygiene early on, it’s very likely that he will lose some of his teeth when he’s a senior.

Dental diseases can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful for your dog. Such diseases can make it very difficult for your dog to eat most of his meals. If your dog cannot eat properly, he is likely to lose weight and might even develop an unkempt coat of hair.

Dental diseases and the pain associated with them aren’t the only reason that senior dogs start to lose weight. It is pretty common for your senior dog to encounter diseases such as heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, etc. that can cause massive weight loss.

Other Problems

Alternatively, some senior dogs might face another problem altogether. For instance, with age and time, some senior dogs become inactive. They basically become couch potatoes. As such, they tend to gain weight.

However, these problems don’t need to affect your dog. With the right care and careful attention to your dog’s routines, you can ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Here are a number of tips that you can use to care for your senior pet.

Schedule Regular Visits to the Vet

As a pet owner, you must realize that your pet needs to be properly seen to by a professional at least once a year if it seems to be healthy. This is because a number of diseases aren’t too apparent.

Always keep in mind that it is cheaper for you to prevent the disease altogether rather than pay for its treatment.

Have Your Dog’s Physical Condition Evaluated at Each Visit

Your dog’s body condition is an important determinant of whether or not your dog is at an ideal weight. You can ask your vet to determine whether your dog is overweight, underweight, or of an ideal body weight.

Serve Your Pet the Right Food to Ensure It Maintains Its Weight

Typically, the more overweight your dog is, the more likely it is to encounter diseases such as skin diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

The veterinarian that you choose for your dog can assist you in deciding the right diet for your dog. Keep in mind that if your dog is overweight, he needs to be fed carefully in order to make sure that he gets all of his essential nutrients while also maintaining a healthy weight.

For example, a diet that is specially designed to be lower in calorie intake is recommended for dogs that are overweight or obese.

Alternatively, a diet plan that carefully combines specific carbohydrates can make sure that your overweight dog feels satiated with what he eats.

Feed Your Senior Dog a High-Quality Diet

Do make sure that the food you choose for your senior pet is food that is of high-quality and suitable for his age and lifestyle.

Come up with a Particular Diet Plan If Your Pet Has Kidney or Heart Disease

Sometimes, vets tend to recommend diets that are low in sodium for dogs that suffer from heart disease. On the other hand, diet plans that can help control levels of calcium and phosphorus are recommended for dogs that suffer from kidney disease.

Your vet is the best person to go to in this case as they will help you come up with a diet plan that’s best suited to your individual dog’s requirements.

Strengthen Your Senior Pet’s Diet with Fatty Acids

These fatty acids have proven to be beneficial for dogs that suffer from mobility issues such as arthritis or other similar joint diseases.

Additionally, supplements, including chondroitin and glucosamine and chondroitin, also benefit senior dogs.

Take Care of Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene

You might not realize just how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth, but it can actually help keep his mouth pretty clean.

If you feel like you can’t brush your dog’s treats or if your dog isn’t the most cooperative, you can always resort to dental treats that can help you keep your dog’s mouth clean.

Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise

Exercise can be great for the health of your senior dog. Regular exercise can help make sure that your senior dog remains healthy, stays lean, and that it has healthy muscles and joints.

You do, however, have to make sure that your dog’s exercise routine is suited to his specific requirements. It all depends on the type of dog.

For a dog that is of a large breed, a walk around the block isn’t likely to be too stressful. For a small Chihuahua, on the other hand, walking around the block is nothing short of a trek.

If your pet hasn’t exercised before, you will have to start slow and only increase intensity slowly and gradually once you have consulted a vet.

Here are some tips that can help you care for your senior pet. Keeping these in mind, your senior pet is certainly going to be healthy and well.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: