Summer is always a great season to look forward to. You could plan to go for a sunbath to get a nice tan and find your way to the beach for some enjoyable summer sports. If you’re anything like the rest of us, you could plan to take long walks, just to get the most of the summer feel. Summertime is when you are eager to explore, and it is best enjoyed with friends around, including your faithful companion – your senior dog.
Just like you, your dog would love to enjoy the summer, but age has limited the full range of his abilities. Do you want to create the best fun experience for your senior dog? There are some necessary precautions to factor into consideration.
Care for Your Aging Dog
Dogs, like humans, are not immortal. While larger breeds tend to age quicker, all dogs age, and eventually earn the title “senior dog.” Often, most dog owners resort to giving their dogs away or leaving them on the street due to the changes in their aging dogs.
Nicholas Dodman (Head of Animal Behaviour Department at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine) says that 25% of dogs taken for shelter every year are given up because their owners complain that they are too old. These owners cannot handle the changes that come with having a senior dog and opt to get a younger one. In his opinion, however, both senior dogs and their owners can navigate through the period of old age with the right mindset.
Signs of aging in dogs include joint disorders and cognitive dysfunction syndrome (which could make them look confused or even appear unstable). Aging also makes dogs prone to behavioral changes (like losing the enthusiasm to engage in activities and excessive sleeping). It puts them at risk of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, or incontinence.
When these signs become evident, the proper response is to engage your vet to put you through on how to manage and care for your senior dog. You wouldn’t want to be abandoned when you’re old, so you shouldn’t do the same to your favorite companion.
Your Aging Dog and Summer
During summer, your senior dog might have a hard time dealing with the weather. Certainly, all dogs have a hard time due to the increase in the temperature; however, it is more difficult for older dogs to scale through that period. Below are ways to keep your senior dog in perfect shape during summer:
1. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
As dogs age, they become more sensitive to the temperature around them. When it is hot, they are likely to feel too hot; and when it is cold, they are likely to feel too cold. This is why you should keep your dog hydrated. It is advisable to drop a few ice blocks into their water to keep the water cold enough for them to stay through the hot weather.
2. Keep Their Environment Cool
Summer is a period mostly associated with heat, and sometimes extreme heat. Hence, it would be best if you kept the environment of your dog as cool as possible. You could turn on the air conditioner when they are with you. You could as well position the fan in their direction to keep them cool if the air conditioner will make them too cold.
If you are outdoor, you should use a cloth to cover your dog. The cloth should be cold – you could dip it in cold water or put it in your refrigerator for a while till it gets cold. This prevents your dog from getting sunstroke.
3. Take Your Dog on a Walk
One of the things you want to do to get your senior dog active and alive is to engage and exercise them frequently. One of the ways to do that is by taking your dog on a walk regularly. It keeps their mind awake, reduces the joint frictions they might have, and also energizes their muscles.
The best time to take your old dog on a walk is either early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is not as intense as it would be in the day. Remember that it is summer and you need to shield them from hot temperatures as much as possible. As you take walks, have a few stops along the way for rest and rehydration.
4. Swims and Shades
If you love to swim during the summer, your old friend could enjoy the moment with you as well. When you want your dog to swim, you should not allow them into the water suddenly. You should rather let them get into the water gradually so that their body can get used to the water’s coolness. If you would love your old friend to stay with you while you have fun, ensure they are under a shade to avoid sunstroke.
In the summer, your senior dog could suffer sunstroke and other diseases, but you can prevent and protect your dog from these vices. Your dog is your friend, and you have memories that bond you together. As they grow older, you do not need to keep them away because they are aging. With better attention paid to them and the professional services of a vet, you can manage the process successfully and keep your old friend for as long as they are alive.