Taking Care of Your Aging Companion
last updated 21st, Nov 2012,
• Buy a raised dog feeder and water bowl, so he doesn’t have to bend over any more. This will reduce strain on his neck and back.
• An orthopaedic dog bed supports your dog’s spine and will keep him comfortable. Sleeping on hard surfaces can lead to the formation of calluses on your dog’s elbows. A soft bed can prevent this.
• Buy ramps or steps to allow your dog to reach higher places such as your bed or the seat of your car. Lifting your dog can hurt him, as he probably suffers from joint/bone problems.
• Exercise keeps your dog fit. Although you may need to slow the pace or shorten the distance of his walks, it is important to keep exercising your dog unless your vet instructs otherwise.
• To prevent obesity, switch to a high quality weight control or senior dog food. They contain the right amount of fibre for intestinal health, less sodium and additives to improve kidney function, antioxidants to help strengthen the immune system and slow aging, plus additives for joint health and optimal skin and coat quality. Minimise treats and do not feed table scraps.
• As dogs age, they have less tolerance for both hot and cold temperatures. Being cold will amplify muscle stiffness and aggravate aching joints. Senior dogs need extra protection in the winter. Unless your dog has his own extra thick fur, provide him with a warm doggie coat on cold days. Short haired dogs may wear light weight doggie sweaters or sweatsuits indoors as well. Old dogs are also more vulnerable to heat related stress than young dogs. To prevent overexertion in warm temperatures, keep them cool and comfortable indoors in the summer.
• If your senior dog has impaired vision, don’t rearrange furniture or add new obstacles. Use small gates as protective barriers at stair thresholds. Do not leave him outdoors unattended—ever!
Monitoring The Senior Dog
Veterinary Care Of Your Senior Dog