Special pet care needs for older dogs
The average lifespan for most dogs is between eight and sixteen years. Some breeds age expectancy is less while other breeds normally have a longer lifespan. Once your dog becomes older it is time to take some preventative steps in order for them remain healthy, happy and active. Have your vet examine your pet annually or more often, if necessary. Veterinarians understand the different breed types and are familiar with problems you may encounter with your pet. They watch for this and make you aware of what to look for, if your dog is acting a little different.
As in humans, keep your dogs weight within the proper or optimum range. An overweight dog has far more health problems such as joint problems, arthritis, diabetes and liver or kidney malfunctions. If your dog is too heavy, buy dog treats low in sugar and salt or purchase dog cookies especially made for overweight dogs, which are low in calories.
Also, cut down on the amount of treats given to your pet. It is hard to resist their soulful eyes but always remember that it is for their own good. You do not want to kill your pet by thinking you are being kind to them. Feed your pet once a day or smaller amounts twice a day but remove the food if there is any left. If you have children, explain to them why they should not sneak food to the family pet.
Pre-soak or add water to the dog’s dry food if they have lost some teeth or have dental problems. Daily brushing helps prevent problems but always use toothpaste made specifically for pets, not humans. Start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young, so they are used to the routine. Have their teeth examined annually by the vet, as they may need to have some pulled or professionally cleaned.
As with dogs of any age, make sure there is always fresh, cool water available. Some older dogs have problems getting to the water bowl so either take the water to them or place bowls of water in several different places so they do not have to go far for a drink.
If possible take your dog for a short walk daily. This helps the dog’s blood circulation and provides some new sights and smells to stimulate them and it gives you quality time to spend with your pet.
Unfortunately, dogs suffer from arthritis just like humans. Keep your dogs weight down and feed him food especially formulated for older dogs, as this does help. Talk to your vet because there is medication available that often makes your pet more comfortable and move easier. Supplements are available, but always check with your veterinarian before giving these to your dog.
Many great orthopedic dog beds are available. Some are made of memory foam and there are heated beds available. An older dog needs good support and warmth for their aging body. Dog beds are easies for your pet to get into than a sofa or your bed.
Looking after your senior pet and taking him to the vet regularly helps keep your dog healthy and happy longer.