In order for dogs to remain healthy and fit for a long time even in old age, you should start changing some things in everyday life at an early stage. Read here what you absolutely have to consider with older dogs.
Depending on the breed, size and body weight, the aging process in dogs is faster or slower. On average, when dogs are five to eight years old, they say that senior life is about to begin. To keep your dog healthy and fit for as long as possible, you should follow these 7 tips.
Visit the vet twice a year
Anyone who visits the animal clinic twice a year is on the safe side. Because many diseases of old age can be detected and stopped very early on or slowed down in the course. Weak points of most senior dogs are:
Diabetes, tumors and inflammatory processes also show up on X-rays and small blood counts. A stool sample will tell you whether a wormer is due, and the pet ID card will tell you which vaccinations are due. The vet will also say if your dog is overweight and should lose weight for health reasons.
Avoid jumping and climbing stairs
The casual jump into the car, the charming jump into bed, the light-footed climbing the stairs – all of this becomes increasingly difficult for an old dog. You can lift and carry small dogs. Large dogs should have an entry and exit aid on the car and should also be able to get to their raised berths at home via a small staircase.
If you live on an upper floor, you can use a special harness to help your dog climb the stairs. Everyone can and should swim, it relieves the joints and strengthens the muscles. The same applies to physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Check hearing and vision regularly
Very few dogs are spared cataracts in old age, which often go unnoticed. Hearing also gets worse in old dogs, some become completely deaf. This is noticeable when the recall is no longer followed. Then please don’t scold, but first check your hearing: Approach the sleeping dog very quietly and let the treat jar rattle or chirp the dog’s name softly and enticingly. That will wake up any hearing dog.
A vet visit is appropriate if a haze appears in one or both eyes. Don’t worry: Dogs are great at compensating for weaker or dead senses with their noses. And it continues to work.
Even old dogs need exercise, depending on their state of health they want to run. The need to keep up often makes them hide that they are in pain or that their heart is racing. So take it slow.
Where the dog can run freely, it should be allowed to determine the pace and the breaks. When he’s on a leash, adjust as he used to do with you. Be alert when he’s playing or rampaging with other dogs and remove him if he’s showing displeasure. Many old dogs don’t want to play anymore, you should accept that.
Feed smaller, more frequent portions
Because the metabolism slows down with age and digestion consumes a lot of energy, the old dog prefers to eat small, protein-rich portions with added antioxidants that scavenge free radicals in the body and thus protect the cells.
Two to three times a day you donate either ready-to-eat food for the elderly. Or you can mix your own muscle meat from poultry or freshwater fish (cooked) with high-quality vegetable oils, sweet potatoes (cooked) and/or carrots. Be sure to seek advice from a nutritionist.
Brainwork and brain teasers effectively counteract early aging and can be played both indoors and outdoors:
- Let your dog find his toy.
- Hide the feed bag.
- Set him new tasks.
Repeat the old tasks in a different order.
When he has to concentrate, the blood flows better to the brain and every sense of achievement results in a shower of endorphins.
Give your dog support
With age, fears and insecurities also arise in dogs. They seek more and more the closeness of their people and don’t like to stay alone anymore. Give your four-legged friend and partner what they need most right now: your closeness, safety, protection and security. Let him rest beside you or close to your feet. Pet him when he asks for it. This sweeps away the stress and his body can relax.