Tips to look after your dog as they get older
As with people the inevitability of getting older also happens to dogs even though we do not want it to or believe it. Even though dogs get into their senior years and start to slow down it's important and even more so that their quality of life doesn't change, exercise is extremely important to keep in good shape and healthy for longer. We can also do some other things to help them age in grace and comfort.
There are many ways you can help your dog's age in good health through a good diet and recognising what foods and diet will benefit them. Many dogs are overweight and this will have a negative impact on their joints and ability to exercise effectively to keep them fit and healthy, the first priority should always be to get your dog to their correct weight.
We are strong believers in raw feeding for dogs (done correctly), this doesn't mean just feeding them raw meat but giving your dog the full range of vitamins and nutrients they need to be healthy. This can come in the form of an expert pre-mixed food or DIY is possible if you have done extensive research and are 100% sure you can provide your dog's full dietary needs. Providing healthy treats that are either low in fat or support healthy joints and muscles are also a great way to give your dog a tasty snack for being good and promoting good health. Even if you do not feed raw giving your dog the best quality food available will ensure they are getting a full and balanced diet.
Supplements such as apple cider vinegar and turmeric can aid a dogs health through their entire life and provide joint and intestinal support to name but a few benefits.
A dog getting outdoors is good for both you and your dog's health. If your dog has health issues always check with your vets if you plan to change their exercise regime but generally getting out to explore new places and having at least 1 hour of exercise per day plus some active exercise to get their heart pumping should be the minimum. Above all have fun with your dog and keep their body and mind healthy.
Comfort at home:
You can make a few changes to help keep your dog comfortable at home, helping them with steps up to the sofa or your bed and providing them with a comfortable dog bed that will support their joints and muscles such as an orthopaedic dog bed. This will go towards ensuring their ageing bodies are well cared for and will ease any discomfort from a standard bed.
Dressing your dog up used to mean just putting on a Halloween costume or dog Christmas jumper, but there is also a functional and practical side to adding a layer of clothing for dogs to prevent them getting cold, wet and uncomfortable. Many shorter-haired breeds, senior dogs, puppies and dogs with medical conditions will benefit from the added layer of a dog jumper or coat and will help keep them warm on cold and wet days. As we know cold weather can make our joints ache more than usual and keeping our dogs warm and comfortable whilst outside is our responsibility as loving dog owners.
A nice pampering massage session:
Our dogs love us immeasurably so dedicating a little time to give them an extra special pampering session is the least we can do for them, whether it is just 100% focus on showing them how much we love them or giving their bodies a gentle massage, they will be sure to lap up the attention.
Keeping your dog well groomed at any age is important but especially important when a dog is getting older, keeping your dog's claws trimmed is important. Why is it important to keep your dog's nails trimmed? Long claws are more prone to chipping, tearing, splitting and breaking, which can be very painful and may require veterinary treatment. As well as being prone to damage, when a dog stands or walks on a long-clawed paw it puts pressure on the wrong parts of the foot, causing pain and discomfort.
To try and minimise this pain your dog may move slightly differently, which in turn may make them more susceptible to other joint injuries, particularly in older dogs where posture may already be a problem. In extreme cases, the nails can grow so long that they curl over and dig into the pad of their paws.
Also providing them with another chance of some TLC is making part of the nail trimming session a luxury spa experience with some beautiful scents and a luxury dog shampoo and conditioner to keep their skin and fur in the best condition.
Dental health for a dog at any age is important, replacing any human snacks that contain sugars or ingredients that will harm their dental health with high-quality dog treats and chews will help keep their teeth in the best possible condition for longer. Antler chews for dogs or raw meaty bones (not cooked bones) are great mental stimulation for dogs and as they chew and gnaw, plaque is scraped away from the teeth helping to keep them clean.
We hope some of this information has been helpful and if you do any of the above or have any suggestions we would love to hear in the comments below!
Love from the Aurora Pets Team x