An aging animal should not be considered a fatality. With proper care and increased vigilance, the owner can make old age more enjoyable for his dog and extend his life expectancy. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of our tips for taking care of an older pet.
1. Adapting his diet
The diet of a senior dog is not the same as that of an adult dog. The protein level will be lower to facilitate digestion. The fat content should also be lowered because old age favors a sedentary lifestyle. If your senior dog is ill, he will have to follow a special diet with adapted mineral and vitamin levels. The senior cat’s diet also requires some adjustments. In order to avoid kidney problems, food with higher moisture content is preferred.
2. Give him regular care
The aging body defends itself less well and is more exposed to infections and inflammations. Constant hygiene and regular care are therefore essential. Monthly ear cleaning (or weekly if prone to ear infections) as well as eye cleaning, bathing twice a year (taking care of the joints when carrying the dog), and inspection of the coat, paws, and mucous membranes, are all necessary attentions that will help keep your pet in good health.
3. Facilitate its mobility
If your pet has difficulty moving and is starting to suffer from arthritis, make it easier for him to get around: a step for accessing difficult places, a ramp for getting into the car, a memory mat, etc. Avoid carrying him, playing with him roughly, and, in general, making him do movements that harm his joints. Taking him to an animal osteopath will help him maintain good mobility and reduce pain.
4. Be extra vigilant
In general, you must be extra vigilant with your old pet:
- He can’t see very well anymore.
- You must be his eyes.
- He is becoming deaf.
- You must be his ears.
- He hurts a little everywhere; massage him regularly.
Your dog has given you a lot of satisfaction and love and still has a lot to offer you, but he relies more on you now. Be attentive and considerate.
5. Take him to the vet regularly
An old animal recovers less quickly and less well from an infection. The key is to be responsive. If your pet suffers from a health problem, even a minor one, it’s best not to wait and see a vet quickly. At this age, small problems can sometimes be the tip of the iceberg, such as drinking a lot of water (polydipsia), which usually reveals a kidney problem or the appearance of a small lump that may turn out to be a cancerous tumor.
6. Boost your immune system
Just like humans, phytotherapy and aromatherapy are valuable aids for aging animals. A complex of antioxidant plants to maintain an optimal level of health, chondroitin, and glucosamine for osteoarthritis, hawthorn for heart problems, and essential oil of thuja or chelidonia for recalcitrant warts, each problem has its solution.
7. Adopt a friend
The secret of rejuvenation for your aging dog: find him a friend! If, at first, the energy and enthusiasm of his new sidekick can make him a little grumpy in time, and if you facilitate their good understanding with an appropriate attitude, they will become the best friends in the world. Your old dog will be driven by the dynamism of the younger one and will stay healthier for longer.
8. Get him to do some regular activity
Just because your dog is getting older doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something with him, especially since an aging dog sleeps more and tends to be forgotten. It’s up to you to think about your companion and bring him out of his lethargy. He will be delighted to accompany you for a walk or to play with you and will be able to find the necessary energy. Practicing an activity with him is excellent for his morale and his health!
9. The housekeeper
Adapt your pace and activities to your dog’s health. A dog can go to exhaustion if you don’t stop him, even if his physical capacities are diminished. So running a marathon with him may not be a good idea. Also, if you practice a dog sport such as agility, be sure to adapt the exercises and lower the level of difficulty. If he has heart problems, leave him at home in hot weather and avoid running or playing in the sun for too long.
10. Pamper him
Love and affection are the elixirs of youth. Your friend will be all the more grateful if, in his weakened state, he can see that he still matters to you. An old dog may not be as sweet, as clean, or as beautiful as a puppy or young dog, but these things do not measure love. By taking care of him, you will extend his life expectancy and enjoy all the moments that life offers you with him.
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