Many people wish that their dogs would live as long as them, but inevitably, all dogs will reach their senior years. When this happens can vary from breed to breed, and even from dog to dog. Some dogs will be classed as seniors at 7 years old, while others might not be senior for a while longer.
You will notice changes in your dog when they reach the senior stage of their life. They’ll likely slow down a little. Their appetite and even food tastes may change. You might need to put them on a special diet, and even change the way you exercise them. Whatever happens, you need to be prepared so you can give your dog the best senior years imaginable. Below, we’ll give you 11 things to remember so that you’re fully prepared. Take a look.
Your Dog May Not Be Able to See/Hear As Well
You might think your dog is ignoring you or being stupid, but when they reach a certain age, it’s normal for them to not be able to hear or see as well. Chances are, they’re not ignoring you, they just can’t hear you. Pay special attention to make sure they do not have any other issues related to this, just in case another health issue is beneath the surface.
Your Dog May Need A More Suitable Place To Sleep
Maybe your dog has always slept on the sofa, or they sleep upstairs with you sometimes. Maybe they always chewed up their beds as a puppy, so they haven’t ever had a soft one. When they reach a certain age, you may need to make adjustments. Their joints can stop them from getting onto chairs and up and down stairs.
Investing in a sturdy bed made especially for senior dogs is a good idea. Many older dogs won’t even think about chewing their bed up anymore, even if they did it as a puppy.
Your Dog Still Needs Exercise
You might think that your dog no longer needs as much exercise as they are older, but this is not the case. Your dog still needs plenty of activity to keep them healthy and stimulated. You may need to split their walks up into shorter bursts, rather than take them on long walks.
If you go on long walks as a family and still want your dog to be included you can check out K9 Sport Sack here! Something like this will ensure that your dog can still be a part of the action without wearing themselves out. Make sure you take plenty of water and snacks with you too, just in case.
Your Dog Should Have Regular Health Checkups
Ideally, you’ll take your dog for a health check-up around once per year to make sure everything is as it should be. They will have their teeth checked over, their weight, and other indicators that will tell you if they are still healthy or not. The vet will likely be able to spot issues early on, so if something is amiss, you can do something about it.
Your Dog May Not Like The Foods You Once Gave Them
Dogs appetites and tastes can change as they get older. If they experience issues with their kidneys, like some senior dogs, they may need to switch to special renal dog food. You may also need to be mindful of the treats you give them, making sure they are sensible and appropriate for them to eat. It’s especially important to watch their weight and keep it healthy, as they may not be as active or burning as many calories, so weight gain can be all too easy for them.
Your Dog May Become More Anxious
Senior dogs can be more anxious than younger dogs. Loud noises can make them jumpy, and even sudden movements. It may not be the case with every senior dog, but this is something to watch out for. You may notice that they no longer like walking near noisy or busy roads. You may need to switch up your routes.
Your Dog Will Appreciate Changes To Their Routine That Makes Their Lives Easier
You should think about any special amendments you can make to your senior dog’s routine that could make their lives easier and more enjoyable. For example, as their joints can be stiff, they may not be as enthusiastic to get up in the morning, even if they are hungry. In cases such as this, it’s totally fine to move their bowl closer to their bed or even let them eat it while lying down if they can.
Your Dog May Not Be Able To Hold Their Bladder/Bowel As Long
You shouldn’t get mad at your dog if they are peeing or pooping in the house more often. They might do it while you’re asleep at night, or even if you nip out to run an errand. It can be really hard for them to hold it, so rest assured they’re not acting out. Try not to leave them alone for as long, and try to let them out right before you head up to bed or go out to do something.
Your Dog Might Want To Be Alone Sometimes
Your dog’s mood can sometimes change when they get older. Although lots of attention and fuss is still in order, it’s important to pay close attention to times when they may want to be left alone. Senior dogs can be grumpy, and won’t tolerate being teased as much as younger dogs. In cases such as this, it’s a good idea to make sure no younger kids are around to push your senior dog’s buttons.
Your Dog Might Struggle With Certain Types of Flooring
As senior dogs can struggle with their back legs, it could be a good idea to invest in anti-slip rugs or special socks that make moving around easier. Slippery flooring can make their lives really difficult, and even cause damage.
Your Dog May Need Supplements To Improve Their Wellbeing
Supplements can help to relieve pain on the joints and make sure your senior dog is getting everything they need to feel good. It’s best to discuss this with your vet beforehand, but supplements such as glucosamine can help.