CARING FOR A SENIOR DOG: How to keep your old pooch Happy
Most dogs enter their senior years at around 7 years old and a little sooner for larger dog breeds. They begin to slow down, they may gain weight more easily, their senses start to dull. An older dog’s behaviour will give you plenty of hints as to what he needs, but sometimes it helps to put it in words. If your senior dog could talk, here are a few things he or she would most likely tell you:
1. FEEDING A SENIOR DOG
Monitor how much your pet is eating and drinking – mention any changes in their eating habits or weight.
It’s definitely tempting to start indulging your pet more in their old(er) age, but it’s actually more important than ever to keep their diet healthy and balanced. Too many calories at this stage in their life could lead to inflammation and weight gain, both of which can decrease your dog’s quality of life.
Your dog will probably be used to being fed twice a day, although as they reach their senior years, they may prefer smaller portions more often.
2. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR SUBTLE SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT
Dogs can’t talk, so it’s our job as their caregivers to watch out for signs they might be in distress. Some things to look for include limping, difficulties changing position, difficulties climbing stairs or jumping, and lying down when eating or drinking—all of which suggest that your pup is in need of a visit to the vet.
3. MONITOR YOUR DOG’S ACTIVITY LEVELS
Just because your dog is a senior doesn’t mean that playtime and walks will come to a stop. It does, however, mean that they might need some more encouragement to stay active. Follow their lead when it comes to the length of activities and don’t force them to overdo it. You can also try out some new activities. Swimming, for example, is great for weight management and your dog’s joints.
4. ADD IN MORE GROOMING SESSIONS
As your dog gets older, they might have a tougher time grooming themselves. Help pick up the slack with more at-home grooming sessions, including lots of brushings. For this we recommend our WildWash exclusive WildWash Grooming Equipment and we also designed the perfect Grooming Kits for all breeds of dogs and cats.
If your dog is experiencing incontinence, make sure to schedule in additional baths, too. Not only will this allow you to keep your dog looking and feeling their best, but it will also provide you with an opportunity to check for new lumps, bumps, or areas of irritation.
Our WILDWASH Shampoo for Sensitive Coat which is Simple, mild and fragrance free for extra sensitive skin, Aloe Vera and Evening Primrose oil combine to gently cleanse, soften, rehydrate and protect.
5. HEALTH AND WELFARE
Older dogs may have poor hearing and/or sight, so ask the family to avoid sudden loud noises so that they don’t get startled. If your dog appears to be ignoring you it could be because their hearing has deteriorated. Ask your vet to check them over.
Senior dogs may need their nails trimming more often if they’re exercising less. For this you can either use the Large Nail Clipper, Small Nail Clipper or Guillotine Nail Clipper.
If you have any concerns about your older dog, always check with a vet. Changes in behaviour may be signs of underlying issues, not just down to old-age – so make sure to take them for a regular health check. Some vets even run clinics especially for senior pets.