When a puppy first joins a family, it is hard to imagine them ever growing older or slowing down. With boundless energy, uncontainable excitement, and a love of life exclusive to pets, puppies keep us on our toes.
But if your furry friend is starting to look a little grey in the muzzle, it may be time to adapt your pet care routine to ensure that they are still getting everything they need to lead long, healthy, happy lives as they enter their senior phase.
Taking Care of a Senior Dog
Just like elder adults need to modify their habits as they age, senior dogs need to adapt their routines as they get older. For some, this may include a change in diet, exercise routine, and extra visits to their animal medical clinic for checkups.
Here are five things you can do to help keep your senior dog happy and comfortable through its golden years.
- Adapt Their Exercise Routine
Regular exercise is essential to dogs of all ages; it helps them maintain proper weight and keeps them fit. However, if your dog is starting to show signs that those daily runs are too much, it might be time to visit your animal medical clinic to ensure nothing is physically wrong.
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Arthritis and joint problems are common in older dogs, and while your vet may be able to recommend supplements to ease the discomfort, it’s probably time to adapt your routine to your dog’s changing needs. But just don’t cut exercise out altogether. Regular activity is essential to maintaining a healthy weight; obesity in dogs can exacerbate joint issues.
- Make Wellness Checks a Bi-Annual Activity
Healthy adult dogs generally visit an animal medical clinic annually just to ensure they remain in good health and any issues are caught early on. Older dogs or dogs with developing conditions should plan to visit their vet at least twice per year for medical checkups and have blood work drawn once per year. Blood samples provide your veterinarian with crucial information regarding your senior dog’s health, particularly kidney and liver function, which can deteriorate with age.
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- Make the Home Environment Comfortable
It’s only natural for older dogs to spend more time relaxing than they did as pups; you can help them relax by making their home environment as comfortable as possible.
An orthopedic bed can make lying down and sleeping much more pleasant for your older pup, especially if they are dealing with joint pain. Similarly, secured carpet runners on staircases and down hallways can dramatically help with mobility when dealing with painful or stiff muscles and joints.
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If eating has become a problem for your dog, consider investing in specialty raised bowls, they will dramatically improve your pet’s access to food and water. Deteriorating eyesight is another common problem in senior dogs; you can help make navigating at night easier by installing nightlights throughout the home.
With a little extra love and attention, you can help make the most out of your senior dog’s golden years. They would do it for you!