When you first bring home that cute little bundle of fun, its hard to imagine that one day it will be an old dog, and its a change that can spring up on you very suddenly. Though we are told ‘You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks’, if you do know the right ‘tricks’ to care for your ageing canine, you will have a happier and healthier dog as it enjoys those twilight years.

Just like us, thanks to a healthier lifestyle and better care, dogs are living for longer, and just like with elderly people it does not mean the end for your senior canine, there absolutely is ‘life in the old dog yet!’. In fact there are several easy and manageable steps any owner can take to keep that older dog feeling fine and fit.

 

Fight the Flab! Exercise!

Too often when a dog gets older and slower, we think it is best to let them rest by the fire all day and take it easy, but nothing could be worse, especially as in some countries over 50% of senior dogs are overweight! So get that dog up, out and active! A sensible amount of steady exercise, ideally short walks out each day, will do wonders for a senior dog, keeping those joints well oiled, and muscles working.

German Shepherd older
                    Keeping a check on your dogs weight can help prevent problems in old age

 

An Apple a Day...

Make sure your senior dog is eating the right food. Whole foods rich in antioxidants and omega 3 are perfect for boosting their immune system to keep illnesses at bay. Senior dog food should also be lower in calories to prevent your dog joining the large number of overweight older dogs. However our old friend the local vet is the best person to advise on what specific food is necessary for your ageing dog, as it can depend on their own individual health issues.

 

The Local Vet is a Senior Dog’s Best Friend!

Greater longevity in our dogs has also brought about new, age related problems. Dogs are increasing suffering from problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Cancer affects half of dogs over the age of 10, so watching out for any signs of cancer is vital for all older dog owners. Weight or appetite loss, stiffness, loss of stamina, and of course any lumps are signs your dog may need to get checked.

But again, these illnesses don’t have to be the end, more frequent visits to your local vet will ensure any problems are noticed early and treated swiftly. It is recommended to take a older dog for a checkup with your vet at least every six months!

 

A Little Love goes a Long Way

Sadly, as our dogs live longer they are also increasingly likely to suffer from senility, but that too is possible to help manage at home. Regular interaction with your dog, providing that old chap or dame with mental stimulation, does wonders for your dogs mind in those twilight years. So a good hug or a gentle play with the golden oldie can’t go a miss!

Senior dog

Keeping your dog mentally active is just as important as going out for walks

 

There in no doubt dogs are living far longer than they used to, and during these special years senior dogs have so much to offer. They are the perfect loving companion for Gran and Grandpa, and can bring so much joy to the whole family. So caring for an ageing dog is really worth the effort. With these simple steps, like a little physical and mental exercise, a healthy diet and regular trips to the local vet, you can ensure that you and your dog are happy together in those golden years.