Dogs grow old and while our love for them makes us wish that they won’t, it is a must that we learn how to care for them when they reach their senior years.
While no longer as energetic as they used to be, our aging fur babies offer a different kind of pleasure - that of a loving companion. Instead of causing you headaches with their rambunctious antics, their golden years give way to more serene moments where they show their appreciation to you, their human, in more subtle ways.
What Age Is My Dog Considered A Senior?
While the pace of aging is different for each dog, it’s generally accepted that an “old dog” is one that is around 7-8 years of age. Most older dogs also show a noticeable slow down in activity, being less interested in toys, playtime, or even food.
What Old Age Means For Your Dog
In addition to the aforementioned decrease in activity, advanced age has other more subtle effects on dogs both physically and mentally.
One of these is decreased patience, especially around younger, more energetic dogs, leading them to be more assertive when it comes to their personal space. They also become less responsive, confused, and easily disorientated requiring you to call them multiple times to get a reaction.
In terms of health, arthritis, blindness, hearing loss, dementia, and kidney disease are the main ailments affecting older dogs. Most also experience an increase in potty accidents around the house.
How To Care For Your Senior Dogs
While the effects aging has on your beloved pooch can be unsettling, there are a number of things you can do to make their golden years not only comfortable but even enjoyable.
- A High-Quality Orthopedic Dog Bed - This is perhaps the biggest thing you can do for your dog. Not only does it provide them with adequate support, comfort, and a sense of security, but it also helps relieve their aching body.
- Get Ramps And Stairs - If your dog is used to getting on the couch or bed, they might have trouble doing so as they grow older. Ramps and stairs help remedy this, allowing them to get on and off without exerting much effort.
- Regular Brief Exercise - Despite their decreased endurance, your dog still needs exercise. However, instead of taking one long brisk walk like you used to, take multiple short, slow strolls instead to reduce pressure on their joints.
- Outdoor Potty Breaks- In order to minimize potty accidents indoors, make it easier for them to do their “business” outside by installing a doggy door. Of course, accidents still happen so also make sure to also have cleaning supplies on hand.
- Specialty Kibble - In addition to making them less interested in eating, aging often decreases your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients. Switching them to a kibble formulated for senior dogs in addition to giving them supplements allows them to maximize their nutrient intake and keep them in prime health.