Boisterous play and excitement may have been signature to your dog’s personality but as they age, dogs slow down. They may not be able to keep up with their usual routine and need a little more care and attention to stay comfortable.
Play: Your senior citizen’s energy levels aren’t as high as they used to be so running and fetching games may not be their favourite any more. Introduce them to games that will exercise their minds instead. Puzzles and interactive toys stuffed with treats are ideal for encouraging mental stimulation. Hide and seek offers light exercise coupled with a brain teaser.
Senior dogs tire out easily, so be sure to add more indoor games and puzzles to playtime
Image Source: ninaottosson.com
Diet: Senior Dogs have a tendency to put on weight because their activity levels are reduced. This is why their diet should include more protein to build muscle mass. Feed them smaller meals at regular intervals as these are easier to digest. Adding fibre to their diet prevents constipation (seniors are prone to this). Raised diners allow your pet to eat comfortably without straining their necks to reach low-lying bowls.
Elevated bowls mean your dog doesn’t have to bend too long to nom nom nom
Sleep: Aging pets are often plagued by arthritis and this makes sleeping on hard floors difficult. Invest in an orthopaedic bed that offers firm support without compromising on softness. This supports their aching joints. Opting for beds that are at ground level prevents unnecessary climbing up and jumping down from elevated beds (which only adds to the strain on your pet’s joints.)
Orthopaedic beds offer soft, firm support to ease the pain of aching joints.
Safety: Vision is one of the first casualties of age and navigation within the house or outside may become a problem. Cover sharp corners or edges with soft padding so your pets won’t be hurt even if they accidentally bump into them. Install pet gates to prevent your pet from going into areas where he or she may get hurt (especially when you’re not home). Since senior dogs lose some traction on their foot pads, make sure the fur between their paw pads is clipped regularly to prevent slippage. Anti-slip socks will give your dog a better grip on tiled or granite floors.
Door barriers can keep your senior restricted to the safe parts of the house while you are away. Image Source: Savic.com
Remember, your senior dog is only aging and is not ill. Just tweaking the everyday routine to suit their requirements is generally sufficient to improve the quality of their lives. You can also consult a vet on the matter. The only thing that should never be curbed in any way is showering them with love which in fact, your dog will need now more than ever.