An older dog has different health requirements than a younger dog. Here are some tips to help you keep your older pet healthy
1. do not forget the health checks
Make sure that your older dog visits your vet regularly. In fact, many vets recommend that older dogs be examined twice a year, especially if the dog has serious health problems. A thorough physical examination by your veterinarian can reveal health problems that may affect your pet’s life and comfort, such as dental disease, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, and more.
2. be aware of any behavioural changes in your dog
Observe the behaviour of your older dog closely. This is important for all pets, but doubly important for older dogs. Changes in your dog’s behaviour can be a symptom of illness. Pay particular attention to changes in your dog’s appetite and water consumption. Watch for changes in urinary and bowel habits and changes in sleep routines. If your dog suddenly becomes irritable for no reason, this may be because he is in pain, has difficulty seeing or has difficulty hearing properly. Changes in your older pet’s routines or behaviour should lead to a consultation with your vet.
3. make it easier for your dog to move
Keep in mind that your older dog may have pain caused by arthritis or other health problems that make it difficult for him to move as well as he did when he was young. Consider providing ramps or stairs so that your older dog has access to furniture or beds. Ramps on stairs can make it easier for your pet to walk up and down stairs, and carpeting on slippery floors can help your dog get a foothold. Your older dog may also need assistance getting in and out of the car.
4. choose an age-appropriate diet for your dog
The nutritional requirements can change with the age of your dog. It is important that you provide your older dog with an age-appropriate pet food. Some older pets tend to gain weight and may need a diet for less active dogs. Others may have difficulty maintaining their weight and may need a diet with higher calories or better palatability. Older pets may also have diseases that can be at least partially manipulated and/or controlled by diet. Your veterinarian can help you choose a suitable diet for your older dog based on your dog’s individual nutritional needs.
5. pimp your dog’s bed out
Provide soft blankets and towels for the bed of your older dog. This will help him rest more easily and sleep better. There are even special orthopaedic beds for older dogs. Some orthopaedic beds not only have a denser shape to help cushion your older dog’s aging joints, but can also be equipped with a heat and/or vibration source that increases blood flow and reduces stiffness – perfect for dogs with arthritis.