Having a dog that’s getting old is tough. We all know that the body gets weaker with age, but it’s hard to watch it happen to your best friend. Older dogs tend to be weaker, fatigue easier, and are more prone to issues such as arthritis. Debi Berger, who has ten dogs, knows this better than anyone. She has some tips to offer that can help keep your aging pup as comfortable and youthful-feeling as possible.
It’s important for a dog of any age to have a proper diet, but many people aren’t aware that a pet’s dietary needs change with age. For older dogs, it’s best to keep them on foods that are easy to digest and rich in fiber, since they are prone to constipation and other issues. Vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids can help with this as well.
As with humans, older dogs’ metabolisms tend to slow. Diet is also important for helping your dog maintain a proper weight so that he is less prone to diabetes, arthritis, and heart problems.
You should be taking your dog for regular checkups as it is, but for older dogs, getting blood tests and physicals done every six months is crucial. This way, the veterinarian can keep an eye on any changes in the dog’s health and keep him up-to-date on any necessary medications that will make his life more comfortable.
Exercise is as necessary as ever for older dogs, but exercising their minds becomes increasingly important with age. Introduce your older pup to new games and teach him to play with new toys. This will help to keep them active while also keeping their mind sharp. It also makes it easy to keep track of whether their vision is deteriorating.
Dogs may become anxious as they grow older, especially if they are uncomfortable due to joint pain or fatigue. That’s why it’s important to make sure your dog always has a safe space to escape to. A warm, soft bed with blankets in a quiet place should do the trick, and some dogs even like to have kennels. Additionally, be sure to introduce new people slowly and not to make the dog do anything it doesn’t want to do. During this time in his life, it is also not the best time to get new pets, as the acclimation period can increase the dog’s anxiety.