Even when dogs start aging, they are still puppies at heart. This may seem far fetched because of how we see our pooches slowly turn from energy-filled pups to slow-moving seniors.
Old age brings a lot of physical hindrances to your dog’s activities, but it doesn’t mean that you have to sit and watch your furry friend’s activity light go out.
There are several things you can do to make your senior happy. This article lists a few proven ways to bring out the little pup in your senior.
Keep up with your dog’s physical activities.
Exercise is essential for dogs of all ages because it helps maintain a healthy weight, muscle tone, proper circulation, joint flexibility, and overall mental health. By middle age, most dogs’ physical movements slow down because of the pain caused by arthritis and other joint complications connected to aging. For obese dogs, these problems are more likely to occur at a younger age.
It is natural for dogs to slow down or lay still when movement causes pain. This, in turn, starts a destructive cycle in which inaction contributes to the pain, the pain increases inactivity, and the pooch’s health crumbles. To avoid this, try exercising your senior dog every chance you get. You may find that he isn’t as agile as he was before, but the gentle exercises will help keep him healthy and be careful not to go overboard, or you’ll injure your pet.
Play with your pooch
One of the things that hold senior dogs back from playtime is the “old-dog mentality” in their owners, which makes them say something like, “My dog can’t play because he’s old. He needs to lie down all the time.” I cannot emphasize enough that, no matter their age, dogs will always love some one-on-one playtime with their owners.
Playtime doesn’t mean games of running or playing fetch with your dog because there’s an unlimited number of fun brain games to challenge your senior’s mind. There are doggy puzzles, squeaky, and even treat-dispensing toys that you can get your pooch to keep him entertained and lively. Besides, one-on-one training time is the perfect way to bond with your dog while keeping his mind sharp.
Get your dog a good bed
You may have noticed that your little pet snoozes for longer hours as he grows older. The average young dog needs at least 12-14 hours of sleep, but the seniors require even more, and it is essential to ensure that he gets all of it in a comfortable little spot.
Lack of enough sleep can affect your canine’s mood, memory, and concentration. So get your dog a bed with enough cushioning to support his frail limbs and keep him comfortable enough to catch as much sleep as he needs. Since there are many options in the market, you can choose beds specifically designed for dogs with arthritis
Keep his diet healthy.
With all the changes that occur on your dog’s body as he ages, you must make the necessary dietary adjustments to keep up with him. These changes should include:
- Give your dog high fiber foods to help with gastrointestinal health.
- Fewer calories and less fat foods since seniors don’t use as much energy as younger dogs.
- Higher quality protein foods to help maintain muscle.
- Omega-3 fatty acids(fish oil) to improve cognitive functions.
So, if you’re asking yourself what you should be feeding your dog, the answer is to go for natural and fresh foods. Buying the widely available commercial dry foods may seem easy enough, but if there is a fresher and more natural alternative, you should consider it.
Get your senior a doggy massage.
All dogs, no matter the age, love a good massage. Canine massages reduce muscle spasms and joint pains, reduce anxiety, improve digestion, stimulate the immune system, and boost blood flow throughout the body. You can look for certified canine massage therapists to provide therapeutic services for your dog, or you can learn the skill yourself and bond with your furry friend as you massage him.
Maintain your dog’s dental hygiene
Dogs’ teeth become more delicate and prone to infections as they get older, and infected teeth increase the risks of contracting heart disease and kidney disease. If pet parents don’t take good care of their doggies’ dental health while they’re still young, the dogs will likely have loose and infected teeth when they get older.
It would be best if you made brushing your senior’s teeth with a dog toothpaste part of his daily routine. You can also use dental drops to lessen bacterial overload. Always opt for professional dental cleaning if your dog has any loose or infected teeth.