It can often be difficult to come to terms with the fact that your dog is getting older, especially if you have had her since she was very young. But, like every living creature, dogs become elderly, and when they are getting on in life, it’s important that you adjust the care that you give them to suit their changing needs. An older dog is likely to need a much different type of care compared to what they needed as a puppy or a young adult. While adapting to your dog’s differing needs and accepting that he is getting older can be tough and even heart breaking for some, it’s the best thing to do in order to ensure that your dog lives a happy and healthy life no matter their age. Here are some of the main ways you will need to change how you care for your dog as they get older.
Consider Adding Supplements to Their Food:
Older dogs will often require different, or a greater level of certain, nutrients from their food. Supplements are one of the best ways to make sure that your dog is getting the nutrients that they need from their diet. One of the most important supplements to consider adding to your dog’s diet is Omega-3 fatty acids for their inflammatory effect that may be beneficial in helping your dog be more comfortable and pain-free, especially if he is suffering from joint pain and stiffness that can often be common in dogs as they get older. Dog joint supplements with high-quality Omega-3 are ideal for older dogs who suffer from arthritis. You can purchase dog joint supplements here. YuMOVE offers high-quality Omega-3 supplements for dogs of all ages, made from sustainably-sourced mussels. Some other excellent supplements to consider adding to your older dog’s diet include mushrooms for an immune system boost, and probiotics, to keep your dog’s digestive system working smoothly.
Adapt Your Dog’s Diet:
Along with adding suitable supplements to your dog’s diet as they age, you may need to consider changing their diet to include food that is designed for their age group. As your dog gets older, it’s probably not a wise idea to continue feeding them the same food as they were eating when they were younger. This is because, when a dog ages, they tend to experience a drop in energy levels and the food that they eat will need to reflect this. Older dogs require less exercise because of this and feeding them the wrong food can lead to weight problems, which comes with its own set of health risks for your dog. If you are not sure about the type of food that your dog should be eating at her age, it’s a wise idea to speak to your vet for some recommendations.
Provide Consistent Gentle Exercise:
As dogs get older, they will usually not need as much exercise as they once did. But going for a daily walk is still important for dogs of any age. Even if it’s just a gentle stroll around the park, your dog needs to walk to keep their muscles and joints healthy, and the walk can provide so much more for your dog than simply exercising. It gives them a chance to sniff and explore, meet and play with other dogs, and enjoy some freedom. When your dog is getting older, it’s important to get the balance right when it comes to the amount of exercise that you offer. It is best not to encourage your dog to do any strenuous exercise as they get older and let them lead with how long they walk for and how fast they go. Keep your dog’s changing energy levels and exercise needs in mind when planning outings and walks.
Get a Bed Designed for Older Dogs:
As your dog ages, their usual bed might no longer be as comfortable for them as it once was. Dogs that are getting on in life tend to be more prone to joint problems and arthritis, which can often be worse when they wake up. If you have noticed that your dog cries when getting out of bed after a nap, or appears to be stiff when moving out of bed after sleeping, it might be because their bed is no longer adequate for providing the support that they need. Beds that are designed to provide the right level of support for older dogs are the best choice. These beds are made from thick memory foam that relieves pressure on your dog’s joints as they sleep and moulds to their shape, providing a comfortable sleep for them with a lower risk of being in pain when they wake up.
Create a Consistent Environment:
Dogs thrive on routine and predictability. And as your dog gets older, he is going to need even more of this. That’s because older dogs often experience a deterioration of sight, smell, and hearing. If you’ve noticed the signs of this in your dog, the good news is that there are several things that you can do to keep them more comfortable and ensure that they feel safe at home. Your dog will likely begin to start relying more heavily on memory when it comes to moving around the house, so avoid moving anything unless absolutely necessary, and introduce the new layout to your dog first if you have to. Minimise leaving anything on the floor since this can become a trip hazard for a dog who is struggling to see obstacles in front of them.
Bear in mind that older dogs will often find it more difficult to regulate their body temperature compared to when they were younger. As a dog ages, they will often feel the cold much more, so it’s important to make sure that they are kept warm. At home, an electric blanket can be a lovely option for an older dog who is feeling cold, or you could place their bed near a radiator or heater to keep them warm while they sleep. It’s also a good idea to get a dog sweater or coat that your dog can wear as an extra layer of insulation in the cold.
Playtime and Bonding:
No matter how old your dog is, playing with them and spending quality time together is always important. Older dogs might no longer be as playful as a puppy, but many will still enjoy the occasional game of tug or a quick game of fetch in the garden. As your dog gets older, don’t forget that she is adapting to her own body changing just as much as you are coming to terms with it, so provide lots of cuddles and pats, make time for bonding with your dog, and enjoy the time that you have together and the time you’ve spent together so far.
Accepting that your dog is getting older can be heart breaking. Nobody wants to face the fact that their beloved dog is in their senior years and coming to the end of their lives. But, as your dog ages, there are several things that you can do to care for them in a way that’s suitable for their stage of life, enabling them to live a happier, healthier and longer life.