Old age is another stage in the dog's life, not a disease. However, there are some keys to caring for an elderly dog at home. Take him for a walk, monitor his diet, give him the love he needs and increase veterinary checkups It's fundamental. Living with an older pet can provide enriching and pleasurable experiences, although it should be borne in mind that not all dog breeds age the same and at the same age.
Daily exercise to take care of the elderly dog
The daily care that our pet receives during youth will decisively mark his health during old age. Daily walks, key to the welfare of the dog, should be maintained when the dog gets older. The senior dog needs his long walks and the games to keep fit and take care of your health, both physical and mental.
An older dog needs a minimum of thirty minutes of daily physical activity
A healthy senior dog needs a minimum of thirty minutes of daily physical activity to maintain, and age, in a healthy way. The walks are a good way to get it.
Moderate exercise of the older dog can help prevent degenerative diseases such as arthritis, which attacks the joints of our animal. Keep in mind that physical activity reduces the risk of the dog being overweight during old age.
Food rich in fiber and vitamin C for the senior pet
The food that the dog has received throughout his life plays a leading role to take care of his health in old age. "The care of older animals starts from birth, since the food and preventive health measures that we adopt since the dog is a puppy will definitely influence the hope and quality of life of his last years ", they emphasize in the veterinary clinic Vetersalud, that counts on a national network of hospitals for dogs.
The dog's diet should adapt to their age, since older dogs, like people, need special care when they age. Over the years, complications in the dog teeth or certain diseases. In addition, the body of an elderly dog works at a lower rate than that of a young dog, so its diet must contain a lower energy intake, since physical activity is reduced. To avoid being overweight, veterinarians recommend reducing around the 20% the amount of calories the dog ingests.
The senior dog needs his long walks and games to keep fit and take care of his health, both physical and mental
In general, senior dog food and cans follow these recommendations, since they propose a specific food for this age Low in calories and rich in fiber, which satisfies them. These preparations for the older dog are often rich in protein, in order to counteract the loss of muscle mass that afflicts the elderly dog.
To delay brain wasting, it is advisable to increase the amount of vitamin C, since it acts as an antioxidant. Some lipids (phosphatidylserine) help keep neurons active.
Pampering for our older friend
The pampering, care, words of affection and signs of affection for our dog are important during all stages of the dog's life, but especially during his old age. Regular petting makes the pet a happy animal.
Have a fluffy bed It is another pampering that requires an older dog. A padded surface will take care of the dog's joints, which in no case should sleep on the floor.
Aging is related to dog genetics
Living with a old dog It can bring intense and beneficial experiences. The dog grows older and needs us more than ever. It should be remembered, however, that not all dogs grow older at the same age.
Old age is another stage in the life of the dog, not a disease
"Marking the age at which we can consider that an animal begins to age is a purely statistical fact. It is considered that dogs enter the third age according to their breeds and their sizes," they explain from the veterinary clinic Vetersalud.
"Aging is not manifested at an age or with a specific size, but is related to the genetics of the dog and the quality of life he has enjoyed," they add from Vetersalud. While a small breed dog, up to ten kilos in adulthood, you can become a senior dog at twelve years of age, often, larger pets age earlier.
"The medium breed dogs they are usually considered elderly when they are around 11 years old, while a large breed dog, up to 45 kilos, can be only nine years old, "they say from the veterinary clinic. On the other hand, dogs of older breeds, called giants because in this stage can exceed 45 kilos of weight, they are considered elderly when they turn eight years old.
A small breed dog can become a senior dog at twelve years of age, while larger pets often age earlier.
The senior pet needs long walks and games to keep fit and take care of his health, both physically and mentally.
To avoid being overweight, veterinarians recommend reducing the amount of calories of the elderly dog by about 20%.
Regular petting makes the pet a happy animal.
The veterinary controls and checks of the elderly dog must be increased.
How do I know when a dog is old or old?
There are many details that we can appreciate in our dog to determine when he has become an older dog. Although one of the most notorious features is the appearance of gray hair in his snout.
When gray hairs begin to cover our dog's snout, it is a sign that he is older and will soon become an old dog. The old state comes when his snout is practically covered with gray hair and also also begin to appear in his head.
The reduction of energy is also a clear sign of old age in dogs, they will stop being so active and will become calmer. Although that does not mean that they do not want to go for a walk and greet other puppies.
Behavior changes at home are also typical in older dogs, they become more affectionate, more familiar and sometimes even begin to be afraid of being left alone, unprotected.
Dogs of large breeds have an average life estimate of about twelve years, while dogs of small breeds have a life estimate of fifteen to twenty years. Depending on what your dog looks like, your old age will begin after the age of eight or nine, or after the age of twelve or fifteen.
Food for elderly dogs
Many dogs reach adulthood with dental problems, due to their wear during all previous years. That is why choosing a feed that is soft and chews easily, is the best option for them.
In addition, the feeding of an elderly dog must contain about twenty-five percent less metabolizable calories, since he will also reduce his physical activity considerably and we do not want him to gain weight.
Getting fat will be a serious problem for your joints and circulation, so it is so important to choose a good feed for "Senior" or "Senior" dogs. Although you will know, that the best food is always the natural one, known as BARF power.
If you opt for feed, remember, it is low in calories, containing a good amount of chondroprotectors (for your joints) and antioxidants, not forgetting that the croquettes are soft.
Increase your touch in older dogs
Elderly dogs tend to acquire more fears and feel somewhat unprotected, so we should increase even more if possible, our affection towards them.
Giving them pampering daily and showing them how happy we are with them is essential for them to feel loved and accepted, but above all, in their adulthood.
We even recommend that you start massaging your elderly dog, to relax their muscles and also strengthen your emotional ties. You can learn from: How to give a dog a massage.
On the other hand, it is normal for some elderly dogs to lose control of their bladder and inadvertently urinate at home or in places where they had never done so before. Remember that we should never scold them, we will only use positive reinforcement.
Regulates the exercise of an elderly dog
We should treat an old dog like a puppy, we should never force him to run or exercise, nor to take great walks / walks, let alone play when he does not want to.
We just have to keep up our riding routine with him, but letting him set the pace. If you get tired and want to sit and smell things, we will sit with you, if you want to walk slowly, we will go slowly, etc ...
The best way to take care of an older dog during the walks is to let him tell us how he wants to take the walks, when he wants to play, etc ... respect your older dog, let him be the boss.
Increase veterinary reviews
Unfortunately, older dogs do not have the same vitality as young dogs, and a small infection or disease can become very serious for them, since their defenses are not what they were.
To prevent any type of problem, we must pay a little more attention to your health and schedule a series of routine visits to the veterinarian. Although he is not sick, just to check and make sure everything is fine.
Some of the most common diseases in elderly dogs are:
- Cataracts / Blindness
- Dysplasia elbow or hip
- Tartar problems in your teeth
- Appearance of canine osteoarthritis
- Cardiovascular / circulation problems
It does not mean that all elderly dogs suffer from them, but that they are common in dogs with a certain age.
Tailor your home for an elderly dog
Older dogs are not as resistant to seasonal changes, nor to cold, nor to heat…. That is why we must adapt a good place inside the house for him, where we can make a comfortable and soft bed for him.
If we are in summer and it is very hot, we should try to put your resting place in a cool area (always close to us) so that you feel well. If we are in winter, we will do the same but looking for a warmer place, where I can sleep warmly.
It is even a good idea to put two beds, one in our room so you can sleep with us at night and one in the living room, so you can be with us when we are at home.
Always leave fresh water at your disposal and some toys to be entertained when you want to nibble on them. Remember that older dogs, although less, also like to play.
And when your time comes, don't let me see you sad, just share your last days with love. Do not stop reading: How to face the death of a dog.
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Changes in appetite of older dogs
Elderly dogs are less interested in eating. You may not burn the same amount of energy, so your appetite decreases naturally. There may be many reasons for loss of appetite, such as mouth or tooth problems, so if your dog's behavior suddenly changes, it is better to consult a veterinarian to check his health.
The key to feeding your senior dog well is to find a nutrient-filled food that your dog enjoys. Find a food that will help minimize joint stress and take care of teeth and digestion.
Hourly feeding for older dogs
Since the aging of dogs generally causes them less appetite than in their younger friends, it could be useful to divide their meals into two or three times. Try a morning and evening schedule or a traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Feeding it only at specific times, the food on the plate will not seem "overwhelming", it is also likely to be fresher and more attractive. An hourly diet has the added benefit of increased metabolism that will help your dog maintain an ideal weight. While the calendar might say that your dog is ready to retire, it could happen that his body is not yet.
In EUKANUBA we have made an extensive observation with real dogs showing that our exceptional nutrition, together with proper care, can help dogs live longer than the typical lifespan * of the breed. By feeding them with food elaborated for each vital stage, you will help them feel young.
After all, there is a lot of life yet to live.
* Exceptional longevity in Labradors (15.6 years) is defined as + 30% more life than the typical life expectancy of 12 years.