There’s a reason why they call it the golden years. Yes, your senior dog might not be the young puppy from when he first became part of your family – but he’s still the loyal, loving dog that you have come to know, love and share so many memories with. Dogs are considered senior from 7 years onwards (although large breed dogs show the effects of aging earlier than smaller breeds). As your dog moves into her senior years, you might also notice her face getting a tad grey and her movements a bit slower. Below is a list of things to keep in mind when caring for your old boy or girl.
1. A balanced diet
Be sure to keep your old dog on a balanced, high-quality diet. It’s important to find a diet that is age appropriate for your pooch, as many senior dogs tend to become less active and gain weight. Overweight dogs are prone to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and other health-related issues. Fresh, minimally processed foods make a huge positive difference in your dog’s general health. Speak to your veterinarian about finding the perfect diet for your dog.
2. More frequent check-ups
As your dog gets older, he or she might not be as tough, energetic or as fit as they use to be during their prime. So, be sure to double up on the vet visits. Although your pooch might not be showing any abnormal behaviour or signs, many diseases aren’t very apparent or easy to spot immediately. As your dog starts entering the senior phases of his life, increase their vet visits so they can get regular check-ups and body condition evaluations.
3. Keep them active (but not too much)
Now, your older dog might not be keeping up with the active younger dogs on the block, but it’s still crucial that they get in their daily dose of exercise. Studies have shown that arthritis worsens with a sedentary lifestyle. Be sure to take your dog on regular walks, as well as other age-appropriate physical activities.
4. Focus on mental health
Keeping your old dog healthy also includes keeping their minds in tip-top shape. Give your dog regular opportunities for socialisation and mental stimulation. As they age, our pawed pals can become confused and frequently depressed and anxious due to lack of interaction with other people and pets. You can help out by allowing them to interact and play with other dogs as well as treating them with food puzzle toys for mental stimulation. Also remember to speak to your vet about specialised medications that can assist with increased blood flow to the brain, which helps senility.
5. Keep them tick, flea and mite free!
Luckily, with Bravecto® there’s no need to worry about ticks, fleas or mites putting a damper on the golden years. Be sure to give your dog his chew every 12 weeks to keep him protected.
Ultimately, the most important thing for keeping the golden years as bright as possible is a whole lot of love! Our pooches might only be a part of our lives, but for them – we’re their entire lives. Let’s make sure we make it a good one!