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PET PLANET Offers "TIPS" for Senior Dogs

Posted By Kristen Cherry, Pet Planet, Thursday, September 15, 2016

Senior Dogs


All dogs are different . . .  but when it comes to aging, the distinctions become more evident.


There are a number of physical and mental changes associated with aging. One of the first signs may be that your dog is starting to slow down. Your dog may take a little longer to get up from lying down, may no longer jump on the bed or couch, or may not have as much energy when playing.


As time goes on, your dog may develop health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart ailments, liver or kidney conditions and cancer. Some behavioural changes that may occur as your dog ages are confusion, memory loss, accidents in the house, changes in sleep patterns, socialization problems or separation anxiety.


Help your dog maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle through their senior years by feeding the right food and treats. Consider using nutritional supplements to address concerns as a result of the aging process. Provide mental stimulation, physical exercise, regular vet check-ups and most importantly, lots of love and understanding.


When it comes to food, there is no one magic formula for a senior dog. Every dog is an individual and varies in their genetic makeup, lifestyle, history and environment. The most important thing to remember when choosing a food for your senior dog is it needs to contain a good proportion of high-quality protein.


It’s important to keep your senior dog at a healthy weight. Nutrition and exercise are intricately related when it comes to weight control. Daily walks, playtime and socializing with other people and pets will keep your dog’s body and mind active.

If you notice your senior dog is putting on a few pounds, try a quality senior “light” formula food that will help them feel full without the added calories. You can also try giving your dog three or four smaller meals during the day to help burn calories more efficiently. If you split your dog’s food into smaller portions be careful not to overfeed.


Water is important.  Many older dogs forget to drink, or due to arthritis, have trouble getting up or moving around so they avoid going to their water bowl.


Even mild dehydration is bad for a senior dog. Thoroughly wash and refill your dog’s water bowls, often place bowls in multiple locations and deliver the water bowl to your dog if you notice they haven’t had a drink in a long time. Be certain that the water you give your older dog is clean and free of pollutants. Because an older dog’s kidneys may not be functioning as well as when he was younger, they won’t tolerate impure water. Filtered water may be a good option for optimal benefits.


Large-breed dogs enter their senior years at about age five while small-breed dogs, under 20 pounds, become senior citizens at about seven years of age.


Tips for your Dog’s “Senior” Status:


Stick to a regular routine, which helps reduce any anxiety or mental uncertainty your dog may be experiencing.

Use puzzle toys for mental stimulation.

Shorter, more frequent periods of exercise and play are better.

If your dog is not sleeping well, allow them to sleep with you to ease any anxiety or restlessness.

Take your dog outside more frequently for potty breaks.

Provide a ramp or step to help your dog do the things he used to do like get in the car or on the bed or couch.

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