Old Friends: 8 Ways to Help Your Older Dog Feel Young
If you have a senior dog, you'll know that he or she requires just as much care and attention as puppies do—and sometimes even more. Here are some tips that will make your dog’s later years truly golden.
1. Teach your old dog new exercise tricks
In youth, your pup probably loved running around after toys, but as your pup gets older, fetch is harder on joints and muscles. Try modifying your pup’s exercise routine by adding more low-impact activities. Swimming is a great way to stretch your pup’s legs without straining joints.
2. Check for lumps
Take a few minutes each day to give your pup a good rubdown and check his physical well-being. While showing your senior dog some love, check for lumps and sores on your dog’s skin.
3. Ramp up your dog’s comfort
Your senior doggie might not be able to jump up to cuddle with you on the couch or the bed like he did in the past. Install a small ramp for these spots so the cuddling never has to end. Bonus perk: Walking up slight inclines is a good way to strengthen your dog’s forelegs and hind legs.
4. Rock the block
Your senior dog may not be up for the same epic walks he once loved as a younger pup, but daily walks are still an important part of any dog’s routine. Keep walks short and close to home, so that you can get back inside quickly if Fido needs a rest.
5. Treat the teeth
Brushing teeth isn’t usually high up on a dog’s list of favorite things to do—or a human’s list for that matter—but dental care is still really important. Plaque buildup can harm your furry friend’s organs, so make sure to brush your pup’s teeth every day, even if there’s pouting afterwards.
6. Splish, splash, take an inside bath
As dogs get older, they have a harder time regulating their body temperatures, so a hose bath in the backyard might be a little too cold for your pooch. Instead, take him inside for a bath and make sure to line the tub with a slip-proof pad so no one gets hurt. When your pup is all clean, dry him in a warm place thoroughly, but not with a blow-dryer because that can be stressful!
7. Make bites light
It’s important to maintain your dog’s ideal body weight as he ages. Go for low-calorie and highly digestible foods, and lessen the amount of high-protein food. If too much protein ferments in your dog’s intestine, it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. Look for dry food with 18% to 22% protein. Lastly, a complete and balanced diet will provide the necessary B vitamins to help support your aging dog’s healthy skin and energy levels.
8. Allow more time to “go”
Senior dogs often have a hard time controlling their bladders for extended periods of time, so make sure to schedule a few more bathroom breaks than usual. When older dogs gotta go, they’ve gotta go!
Your dog’s body and mind may change as your dog gets older, but your dog’s friendship with you will always be unwavering. We hope these routines will help your dog and you feel closer, happier and healthier than ever.
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