Looking after old dogs
Dogs are for life and that can mean you have them in the family for up to 15 years. If you cannot give a dog that commitment, then you should think hard about getting one.
Dogs are great pets and with the right handling they will give you unconditional loyalty and companionship. However, they are not young and active for ever and every stage of your dog’s life should be cherished.
A Senior dog is considered to be about 8 years old. Many older dogs at Rescue Centres are overlooked for adoption for younger more active dogs, but older dogs can also make very loving and rewarding pets. They have also grown out of the silly and mad adolescent stage and unless they have been abused, have often had some basic training and are house trained. Many older dogs still have plenty of energy and love countryside walks and playtime and exercise is critical in keeping your dog mentally and physically in good shape even when they are older.
Middle age spread affects us all even our dogs, so keep an eye on your dog’s weight as your dog gets older. The ideal is to be able to feel the ribs but not see them and does your dog have a waist? By that we mean does the body taper after the rib cage. Older dogs tend to get slower and exercise decreases so they will not need so much high energy carbs in their diet. If you dog is beginning to look a bit chubby, try changing his food to a lower calorie type. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight as they age is an important factor in preventing health problems in old age. Regularly check their teeth and consult your vet if there is any sign of dental decay.
Older dogs are often prone to arthritis so its important to keep them warm with dog blankets and to have a comfortable bed or mattress. A good orthopaedic dog mattress may be considered an expensive luxury, but it will last a long time and also give your dog all the support it needs to ease joint stiffness. Paws Plus One can supply a great mattress that is based on a human design and the pocket springs in this dog bed allow your dog to either curl up or stretch out with ease and helps to provide an ideal balance of joint support, even weight distribution, insulation and cushioning.
Older dogs with arthritis and dogs with injury may also benefit from the use of a magnetic dog mat which can be put in their bed or over a mattress. The Paws Plus One magnetic mat is made from the superior quality, close knit, thick and warm thermal Warmwick knitted fabric, with rare earth Neodymium magnets for magnetic therapy whilst sleeping.
It is recommended that Senior dogs have a vet check every six months. Many diseases and health problems can be treated if caught early enough.
If we take care to keep our senior dogs healthy, they can remain active and happy up to 15 and 16 years of age. Senior dogs tend to be mellow and calmer and a joy to have as part of the family. Enjoy and love your dog through each stage of its life.
You can use the dog age calculator below to find out how old your dog would be in human years!