As a dog owner, you know your dog holds a very special place in your heart. As our dogs get older, we take even more health-conscious decisions about their environment, diet, and health care. Our dogs are our best friends, and we want to make sure they age with grace. It is vital that we take time to research and ask our dog's vet about the critical measures to take when caring for a senior dog. Keeping them happy and healthy through the senior years is crucial for us as owners.
Did you know that not all dogs age the same? It is essential to know the signs of aging for your dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association has provided 'first indicators of aging,' which include:
- Getting upset quickly over loud noises
- Showing aggressive or irritable behavior
- Barking has increased
- Signs of anxiety
- Action that is seen as confused and paired with roaming
- Accidents inside the home
- New sleeping behavior
- Less physical activity
- Hard time hearing command or does not seem to be listening
Keeping an eye out for these signs can help your dog transition into senior doghood. It is essential to contact your vet and ask questions about what you can do for your aging pet. We've done some research and found some useful tips and products that will make your senior dog's life just as fun it ever was.
Get Your Senior Dog The Best Bed
Senior dogs can often suffer from joint pain and arthritis, which can affect their comfort when sleeping. Making sure that your dog is as comfortable as possible when it comes to their sleep is one of the best things you can do for your old pup! Try and find a bed that has supportive orthopedic or memory foam, is stain-resistant or has the ability to be washed, and maybe even keep your eyes out for warming bed! K-9 of Mine offered their Five Best Beds for Senior Dogs.
Get Your Senior Dog Active
We do advise you to seek advice from your vet when it comes to your senior dog's physical activity. Once your vet has given you the okay for your dog to pursue physical activity, you should follow their guidelines. Shorter and more frequent walks are usually advised for senior dogs. Walks can help maintain and build muscle and positively promote joint health. Walks can also help your dog maintain an overall healthy weight. Make sure that when you are on these walks, you bring water, take breaks, and avoid unstable walking surfaces. Old dogs can be extra sensitive to weather, so make sure they have the proper protection during their walks.
Hydrotherapy for Your Old Dog
There are also vet facilities that offer physical therapy and hydrotherapy for aging dogs. Hydrotherapy can be great for elderly dogs since doing water exercises can reduce the risk of injury, reduce pain associated with the typical activity, and strengthens joints and muscles. Canine Rehab of New York offers Underwater Therapy for their clients. Their underwater treadmill is kept at a warm 89 degrees, so that old pups are comfortable while strengthening their bodies and improving their cardiovascular endurance.
Acupuncture for Pain Management
Acupuncture began in China about 3000 years ago and is defined by Oxford Languages as a system of integrative medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles, used to alleviate pain, and treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions. As humans, we have been shown to benefit from acupuncture, but were you aware of its benefits for dogs? At Tranquil Paws Veterinary, their goal is to promote their patients' quality of life by offering therapy that complements traditional western vet practices. They provide acupuncture to pets in order to help treat arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and to help with pain management. Acupuncture is virtually painless to small pets, but they may show some uneasiness during visits. There are now laser alternatives to traditional acupuncture as well. If you are not entirely comfortable with the conventional method, you may want to do some more research on laser therapy.
Implementing An Age-Appropriate Diet
When it comes to caring for your aging dog, it is important to change their diet too. You wouldn't keep feeding an adult dog puppy food, so why would you not provide your pet with the nutrition it needs as a senior dog. It is important to research how many calories your dog should be fed, how much protein they need, how much fiber they need to consume, and any other added vitamins or supplements they need. No two dogs are alike when it comes to aging. Zesty Paws makes a senior advanced multivitamin for dogs that is for every day. This 8-in-1 formula is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that aids to encourage comfort in a senior dog's hips and joints and as well as supplements to help support the heart. Asking your vet about a senior multivitamin can help your dog age in comfort.
Caring For Your Senior Pup
No matter how old our dogs get, they will always be our puppies! And that is why it is vital to keep your dog active, eat healthily, and get regular check-ups from the vet. The more active and involved you are with your aging dog, the better 'golden' years they will enjoy.
Don't forget to give them extra love, treats, and attention!
Tag us in your old puppy pictures on Instagram!