How to Look After an Elderly Dog
Regardless of the breed of dog you have had as your pet for many years, your dog will experience certain changes in the body as they grow older, much like humans do. This is why it is important that you learn and understand how to look after elderly dogs while your dog is still young enough to roam on its own.
The sooner you understand how to look after an elderly dog, the longer your pet will be happy, comfortable and healthy.
What to expect with an aging dog
The various body changes of a senior dog aren’t too far from what an elderly human experiences. Both body and mind, as a dog gets older, you will notice some subtle and some less subtle changes.
Elderly dogs experience a decrease in appetite and stamina. They require more time to recuperate their energy more this is why they tend to move slower and take longer naps. Some breeds, especially the hairier ones, also experience a 10-20% increase in shedding.
While these things are not that alarming, it is also worth noting that elderly dogs are more susceptible to bacterial infections. They are also more likely to develop minor diseases as their immune systems grow weaker with age.
How do you take care of an aging dog?
So, now that we already know what to expect with an aging dog, it’s now time to know how to make an old dog comfortable.
An aging dog needs more frequent visits to the veterinarian. This way, any infection or disease can be found as soon as possible and immediately addressed before it gets worse.
Increased consumption of fatty acids, omega 6, DHA, and EPA is also imperative for the improvement of your dog’s joint and hip functions. While these nutrients are mostly taken from raw meats that could already be hard to digest for aging dogs, many food supplements can give your dog these essential nutrients in the most easily digestible form.
It may also be necessary to upgrade your house with pet-safe technology such as surveillance cameras. It will help you keep track of the activities of your dog, especially if you’re away. This way, should there be any irregular actions such as vomiting or fainting, you could immediately bring your dog to the vet.
Accommodating Your Elderly Dog
Still in line with your house upgrade, it may also be helpful to give your dog some special accommodation. This includes creating a small ramp if you have a 2-story house since aged dogs will already find it tiring to use the stairs. You can also increase the number of water bowls in your house, so they won’t need to navigate an entire floor just to hydrate themselves.
Last but definitely not least, you should invest in your dog’s multivitamins. Sure enough, your dog can get various vitamins through a balanced diet, but an aged dog requires an almost 20%-40% increase in nutrient consumption.
Furthermore, a supplement for proper digestion is also highly recommended. The digestive system of a senior dog already experiences difficulty in breaking down food. This results in the excretion of the nutrients that your dog’s body should’ve absorbed.
So, already prepared to take care of an elderly dog?
Why it may require more effort and patience than tending a young one, note that it’s a lot more meaningful since you’ll be taking care of someone who’s shown you love and happiness for quite some time already.
Laura Robinson, DMV
Dr Laura practices at the Antonio Animal Hospital in California, where she was born and raised. She is an advisor to Wuffes, ensuring all our products and content is of the highest standard