Top Tips When Caring for Older Dogs

It doesn’t matter how old your dog is, you’re always going to see them as an adorable, excitable puppy-like friend which is often why it can be challenging adapting to caring for older dogs. Unlike puppies and middle-aged dogs, older dogs require a more specific form of care, from food alterations to a change in their daily routine and it’s important to adapt as soon as you can to make their older years more comfortable and enjoyable. Here are our top tips on how to care for older dogs, as well as what to look out for when they do start to age.

Watch Their Diet
A dog’s diet can vary from breed to breed, but you often find that all food is aimed at a particular stage in life. For example, you have a huge range of puppy food available, then moving into adult dog food and finally senior food options. Mature dogs often face issues that you may not be expecting, such as digestion issues, weight issues and so on. As your dog ages they often become less mobile, which can result in them not burning off the food as quickly as they once would have done. Now is the time to focus on changing your dog to a senior dog meal plan, introducing options from the same brand but their senior range of dog food to ensure they receive the nutritional elements they require keeping them strong and healthy. If you’re unsure on what kind of diet you want your dog to have you can always consult your vet to gain some expert advice for peace of mind and guidance.

Stay Active
Whilst you don’t want to be taking your dog on mountain climbs and huge walks, it’s still really important to keep them active and mobile. You often find that taking your dog on smaller, more frequent walks helps to keep their joints moving comfortably, without overdoing it. This is a great way for your dog to still enjoy their daily outings, without worrying about becoming tired, out of breath or uncomfortable. There are also joint care supplements for dogs that can help. Similarly, if you have an outdoor space, playing with your dog and their toys will help to keep their minds active and stimulate the playful pup within. You still want your dog to have fun and stay mobile, without putting too much pressure on them at one given time.

Home Changes
As your dog becomes older and less mobile, you want to ensure your house is comfortable and easily accessible for them. Making certain changes within the house can help to keep your dog feeling settled and relaxed, such as adding a stairgate to the stairs to prevent them overdoing it when trying to get upstairs, adding a cosier bed for them to enjoy and get cosy on or even simply moving their food and water closer to a space that’s easier for them to access, just taking out any extra effort that may be required on their part. By making small changes, you’ll notice your dog feels more relaxed and content, which is the main goal when they reach an older age.

Be Alert
When your dog reaches their senior years, it’s really important to keep a close eye on them at all times and stay alert. You need to watch your dog’s activity and monitor how they behave from day to day. When a dog becomes unwell due to old age they can decline very quickly, so you want to have a clear understanding of how they behave daily to see if any changes are taking place over time. If you do feel unsure or worried about your dog’s behaviour, get in touch with your vet to book in a check-up and have everything looked at to ensure your dog isn’t suffering from anything that may need treating. 

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