When it comes to senior dogs, it’s safe to say that they’re a breed of their own. In order for them to live their best life, they need to follow their own set of rules. So, after many years of devotion, faithfulness, and – of course – love, it’s our duty to make our senior four-legged friends as happy as possible while they’re navigating their way towards the final sunset in their lives. Although keeping your senior dog both healthy and happy indeed requires some knowledge, it certainly doesn’t need much more than time and attention. After all, your senior dog deserves it!
6 Simple Ways to Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy and Happy
Keep Your Dog’s Mind Sharp
Senior dogs can suffer from age-related issues like cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which is why you should provide your four-legged friend with a lot of enrichment opportunities. Mental stimulation is one of the best ways not only to prevent boredom but to keep your dog happy as well. It’s also a great way to encourage your dog to interact more with you and the environment. You can also consider engaging a reliable dog trainer to assist you in keeping your older dog active.
Thankfully, there are many different types of physical exercise out there that can also train your dog’s mental health. For example, the next time you take your dog out for a walk, let them explore the environment and track every scent that they come across at their own pace. Senior dogs are also fans of puzzle toys that challenge them to solve different problems because they know they will get a treat after that. And don’t forget to get a snuffle mat for your dog, as well!
Provide Your Dog With a Comfortable Bed
Unlike in their younger days, most senior dogs just can’t get comfy curled up on a hard floor. Hard surfaces can be pretty unforgiving sometimes, and letting your dog sleep on a couch might be too big of a jump for them. With this in mind, there’s absolutely no doubt that your dog would love it if you provided them with a thick, high-quality bed. This way, they would be able to snooze in comfort and get some much-needed sleep.
If your dog’s suffering from any joint-related health issues, getting an orthopaedic bed or one that’s made of memory foam might be your best option. You might also want to put a heating pad on top of the bed – these things are usually great for soothing things like stiffness and aches. In addition, if your dog is extra sensitive to cold, they would appreciate it.
Take Care of Your Dog’s Diet
Senior dogs typically have different nutritional requirements than any other life stage. Since older dogs are less active than younger ones, they don’t need that many calories anymore. As a result, overfeeding your dog could lead to obesity, potentially resulting in several different health concerns.
Your senior dog would totally benefit from ingredients that are easy to digest, and you might even want to consider switching to wet food as well. Be sure to provide your older dog with a lot of water each day since water is good for their kidneys. You should talk to your veterinarian to find out the best nutrition options for your dog.
Watch Out For Extreme Weather Conditions
Generally speaking, senior dogs can’t really tolerate the same weather conditions as younger dogs. However, it’s important to note that their bodies are more sensitive to extreme weather changes, which means that your dog would love it if you could help them stay comfortable in just about any way that you can think of.
A simple coat or sweater would be enough during the winter. As for the summer, you should consider switching on the aircon in your house. Regardless of what season you’re currently dealing with, don’t spend too much time outside with your dog in extreme weather conditions.
Provide Your Dog With Extra Grooming Sessions
It’s safe to say that just about any senior dog out there would appreciate some extra grooming sessions – something that they didn’t really get to experience in their younger days. As they become stiffer with age, it can be pretty tricky for them to reach every area of their bodies on their own, which is why you should provide your dog with grooming sessions regularly. And don’t forget to increase the frequency of the nail-trimming sessions either!
Grooming sessions also allow you to examine your dog for any health issues. For example, lumps and bumps tend to become more common with age. While these could be nothing more than superficial fat deposits, they might also be signs of cancer. And as you may already know, grooming is always a beautiful experience for your dog. After all, every dog adores love and attention – this is especially true when it comes to senior dogs.
Make Your Home More Accessible
Many senior dogs find it pretty challenging to navigate their environment due to mobility issues that they might be experiencing, including things like stiff joints, arthritis, and other painful medical conditions. Hardwood floors and slippery surfaces can be particularly tricky sometimes. This is why you should try and make your home more accessible for your senior dog. For example, put carpets or anti-slip rug pads all over your house to make it easier for your dog to navigate the environment. You should also install some sort of pet stairs inside of your home to make it even easier for your dog to move around the place.
As you can see, keeping a senior dog healthy and happy takes both time and effort. That being said, one thing you should never do is grow distant from your dog. Some people tend to do this to protect themselves from the pain of losing their four-legged friend.
However, if you do this, the one who’s going to suffer the most is your dog, and you really don’t want that now, do you? At this time of their life, your dog needs you the most, so be sure to stay attached to them until the very end. Make the most of the time you have with them. You can also teach them new tricks to keep their mind and body active.