Proper nutrition and daily exercise are the two most fundamental elements which come together to ensure a healthy and happy canine.
As your dog becomes older, even though the basics are still very much applicable, there are certain changes you need to keep in mind and/or make to best take care of them.
So, with that being said, here is what you have to know about taking care of your older dog.
Take Extra Care with Oral Health
Looking after your dog’s teeth and gums is important throughout their life, but for older and elderly dogs, it becomes crucial.
Your dog’s teeth need to be cleaned, with either a doggie-friendly toothbrush, or else by giving them dental treats and chews specifically designed for older dogs. Additionally, making a bi-annual appointment with your veterinary surgery to have their teeth professionally cleaned and checked over is strongly advisable.
Make Regular Veterinary Appointments
When your dog was a puppy and throughout their younger years, hopefully the only time you really needed your registered vet was when their claws needed trimming, or else there was a minor bruise or cut that you were overly worried about and needed your vet’s advice.
However, as the parent of an older dog, you need to be much more closely affiliated with their vet, with professional and reputable surgeries, such as ortinganimalhospital.com offering a comprehensive guide on warning signs of illness in older dogs.
Invest Time in Grooming
Just as with human skin, over time your dog’s skin can become less flexible and thinner, especially around the bottom of their paws and around their eyes and nose and supplement tablets providing vital vitamins and minerals are an effective combatant.
When it comes to their fur, ensuring that there are no matts or build-ups of dirt (especially around their bottom) is important, so invest time in brushing their whole body. Bathing your dog should be an as and when situation, but when you do, always use a high-quality and particularly mild shampoo which will to soothe irritation and nourish their skin and fur.
Additional Accessibility Options
One of the most common health issues for older dogs, regardless of breed, is that they begin to lose the complete use of their back legs, usually due to joint and bone problems such as arthritis.
Another issue, again just as with humans, is that your dog’s eyesight will start to decrease in accuracy and these two factors combined to necessitate additional accommodations to help their mobility.
Invest in an orthopedic dog bed, with extra soft bedding and cushions and make sure it is placed on a flat surface that can be easily accessed. You may also need to start carrying your older dog up and down the stairs, as even attempting to climb to follow you could result in extra damage. Alternatively, there are a number of doggie ramps that can be placed along one side of your stairs and also dog-proof gates so they do not attempt to climb when you are not there.