Healthy dogs / Looking after an older dog
Pet Care

Looking after an older dog

Looking after an

      OLDER DOG

OLDER
DOG

As your dog approaches their senior years, you may notice them start to slow down a little. It’s all part and parcel of the natural ageing process. Of course, just like us, every dog is different, and some older dogs may have more specific needs than others. Indeed, with a little extra care, many older dogs can lead active, happy lives. Here, together with our consultant vet, Rodney Zasman, we look at caring for your wise and wonderful friend in their golden years.

“YOU MAY NOTICE THEM STARTING TO SLOW DOWN A LITTLE”

 

 

REGULAR HEALTH CHECKS

Regular health checks are very important for older pets, to keep them in good condition and to help ensure that health problems are detected as early as possible. It’s a good idea to schedule in a routine visit to your vet every 6 months with your senior dog, so that they can have a check over and you can ask any questions. Raising any concerns with your vet as soon as possible will help give your dog a better quality of life.

As well as helping to prevent and manage any disease, your vet is also a brilliant source of advice. They can offer guidance on lifestyle changes for your senior pet, such as amends to diet and exercise, and suggest any alterations at home to help keep them comfortable.

SOME COMMON SIGNS OF AGEING IN DOGS

• Wanting to exercise less, and starting to put on weight

• Becoming friendlier and wanting to spend more time with you, or becoming a little grumpier

• Seeming anxious because they may not see or hear as well as they used to

• Appearing disorientated

• Changes in sleep pattern

Age is not a disease and although slowing down a little is normal as we get older, changes in your dog’s health or personality can also be a sign of pain or illness. If in any doubt, talk to your vet.

“SLOWING DOWN A LITTLE IS NORMAL AS WE GET OLDER”

 

 

A GOOD DIET

Around 7 or 8 years of age (depending on breed), a dog’s dietary requirements change, and they generally need food that is easy for them to digest and possibly require fewer calories. However, it’s not as simple as just feeding your dog less – they actually need a different, more nutrient-dense food. They may also benefit from having smaller, more frequent meals.

Choosing a complete and balanced food, created for senior dogs is a great way to make sure your faithful friend is getting the specific nutrition they need. Lily’s Kitchen recipes for senior dogs are full of proper, natural ingredients, specially tailored to help support their stage of life.

Always ask your vet about changing your dog’s diet and make any changes gradually to avoid tummy upsets.

TIPS FOR CHANGES AT HOME

Making small changes in your house to accommodate your elderly pet can help them feel happier and more comfortable:

• Older dogs may need more rest so offer yours a comfy bed in a quiet, familiar spot. An orthopaedic bed will ease pressure on bones and joints.

• Your dog may prefer warmth more as they get older, so a cosy blanket or heat pad can help them relax. Make sure their sleeping area is free from draughts. They may also appreciate a coat to wear in cold or wet weather.

• Older dogs seem to prefer a routine, so will be less stressed if change is kept to a minimum.

• If your dog is losing their sight, keep your furniture in the same spot.

• Using raised food and water dishes can make it easier for your dog to reach and may improve digestion.

• Slippery floors can be tricky for arthritic or older dogs to walk on so try putting down a non-slip mat for them.

• Avoid stairs if possible

• Older dogs may need to go to the toilet more often so offer yours more frequent loo breaks

• Make sure your dog always has fresh water available to drink and keep an eye out for any changes in their drinking patterns

• You can buy steps or a ramp to help your dog up onto the bed or into the car. With these, dogs expend less effort than jumping and there’s less risk of causing back issues

EXERCISE AND COMPANY

There are many ways you can help your elderly dog lead an active, fun and fulfilling life, and spend quality time with them:

• Instead of taking them out on a long walk or a run, try offering shorter, more frequent walks, which will be easier for them to manage. Not only will this give your dog more opportunities to look forward to and help them maintain their weight, it will also help prevent stiffness from sitting too long.

• Just because they're old, it doesn't mean a dog can't learn new things. Use their intelligence to teach them some games or tricks which can be enjoyable for you both to do together and will stimulate their mind. Using mental energy is a great way to keep a dog occupied and contented.

• If your dog's vision is still good, try teaching them signals. This can also be a good back-up if they lose their hearing. Signals are fun for dogs and are a more natural language for them than words.

• Gentle grooming sessions are a perfect way to bond with your dog and gives you the opportunity to check them over. Dogs with sight or hearing loss will be comforted and guided by your touch.

With some extra TLC, your dog can be happy and healthy in their golden years.

FEEDING YOUR
SENIOR DOG

Dogs of more advanced years need specific nutrients in their diet to help keep a spring in their step. We have put together some top tips to help you choose the right food and feed them in the right way to keep them healthy and happy.

See menu

FEEDING YOUR
SENIOR DOG

Dogs of more advanced years need specific nutrients in their diet to help keep a spring in their step. We have put together some top tips to help you choose the right food and feed them in the right way to keep them healthy and happy.

See menu
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