It goes without saying that we all adore our dogs. But many of us also harbour a strong phobia of our cherished hounds ageing. It is a truth of life and will eventually occur. The secret is to be ready, to know how to take good care of your dog to keep them active and happy, and to love a slowing down dog as well.[no_toc]
Looking After and Enjoying an Older Dog? Check Tips Here
Table of Contents
Health and Age
First of all, let’s look at ways we can look after, even our younger dogs, to help keep them “young” and enjoying life as long as possible. The keyword here is enjoying, it is not about us it is about our dogs and if they are happy, we should be. There are a few simple things we can do to help keep our dogs happy and healthy.
Joint Care – Many breeds have inherent joint issues like labs for example. It can become very serious but even at low levels can make moving around less pleasant. It can be very helpful to use joint supplements from a younger age as a matter of habit. Keep using them as directed throughout the dog’s life and you may well help your dog enjoy moving around for longer.
General Supplements – this can be very confusing. There are thousands of different ones out there and so much unqualified advice. Supplements like turmeric and cider vinegar may well be helpful and they are easy to give to a dog with food. It is often worth speaking to other owners of the same breed you have and seeing what they think works. Ideally, speak to someone with a dog that is older than yours and compare how active they are. Be careful not to get caught up spending a fortune each week on silly amounts of supplements but do consider some.
Diet – diet is broken into two parts. The first is simple; do not overfeed your dog. Nothing shortens a dogs’ life quite like overfeeding. So listen to your vet about target weights and don’t get caught out by those begging eyes after tip bits. The second part of the diet is the quality of the food you feed your dog. Just like humans, dogs can eat bad and good food and it has an effect. The movement to raw food is a very positive one, good quality raw food can have a wide array of vitamins and minerals in them as well as meat that is better for dogs to consume.
It can be more expensive so a mix could be a compromise but ultra-cheap tinned food as the only source of nutrients may not be the amazing road to a happy older dog. It is very important to understand, however, raw food has some issues too. In terms of humans, raw dog food can have more bacteria and should be served with that in mind. Making your own raw food is not recommended for a number of reasons. Cheap raw dog food may not meet the right standards so if you are unsure speak to your vet.
Ageing dogs can be a wonderful experience. Remember when your young dog wanted to play ball all day and would walk forever even though you were shattered? Well as your dog ages you will find it enjoys sleeping more and cuddling up more! this means you get some more time to yourself but also some more time with your dog in a different way.
While a long walk is always fun so is curling up on the sofa with your furry buddy while they have a lovely big sleep, and you enjoy a movie on a cold winters day. The key is to embrace the change, enjoy the fact your dog looks so happy upside down in their bed fast asleep for what seems like most of the day.
One very important aspect of caring for an ageing dog is not to pressure them. As they slow down you will need to slow down too. Don’t drag them on a massive walk when they clearly don’t want to. You will know as they slow down so don’t force them. Do, however, keep them active so you must find the balance between a gentle nudge and forcing your dog forward when it is tired.
You may need to start lifting them into the car and that is fine. Don’t make them jump down if they whimper when they land, help them! It is important to not pressure your dog and let them show you what they can do…that way you know they are happy and you will be too.
Remember to value your dog, cherish every moment even if it’s different from how they were 5 years ago. Embrace the ageing process, give them a big cuddle and smile as they fall asleep…again!
Hope this article is informative when the question comes to the process of Looking After and Enjoying an Older Dog. That being said, dogs may just become more affectionate due to old age, a lack of excess energy that they may have once had. They may have grown closer to you because they have more time that they just want to relax and they are accustomed to relaxing with you. Hope you enjoyed reading this article.