Friday’s Facts: Tips for your Senior Dogs

My Basti
My Basti. In the last years of his life, he enjoyed laying out in the grass, soaking up the sun.

“Old age” varies for dogs, depending on their breed, size, and genetics. You can tell that your dog is getting older by: gray hair, senses begin to deteriorate, lower energy levels, as well as slower reflexes (taking longer to get up, slow to get a toy, etc). Here are five tips on how to help keep your senior dog lively and healthy:

Georgia is 8 yrs old, and available for adoption!
Georgia is 8 yrs old, and available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue!

1-Spay/neuter them! This has more than one benefit. You will decrease the chance of an accidental litter. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered tend to show signs of aging later than dogs who are not. It also lessens the risk of certain types of cancer.

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2-Use the right amount of food, and be careful with the amount of treats you are handing out. Excess weight can be a major problem for older dogs, and can cause extra pain on joints. On the other hand, if your older dog is unexpectedly losing weight, do not just increase their intake. Seek the assistance of a vet, as bloodwork and additional testing may be needed.

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3-Have your vet do a risk assessment to figure out a vaccination plan. This is something new that I recently learned about, and I plan on implementing this asap, BEFORE my dog is a senior. Usually dogs are vaccinated yearly…however, research shows that this is not necessairly warranted. Now, I’m in no way saying that your dog shouldn’t see a vet every year. However, I do think you should look into the necessity of annual vaccines. You can have the vet do a titer, which will show the strength of the vaccine left in your dog. It is possible that somes vaccines may not be needed yet. Again, I am not taking away from the fact that an established vet is needed. It’s just something to research & be aware of!

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4-Exercise! This is important for many reasons, including moving those stiff joints & muscles around, and helping to maintain a healthy weight. Be sure to only do as much as your dog can do though. Pushing a senior dog too hard or too far, can have negative effects.

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5-Keep the fun in your dog’s life! Just because your dog has slowed down or sleeps more, does not mean he should just lay around doing nothing all day. Take him for car rides, have a lazy day at a park, let him browse around a pet shop. Getting your dogs up & moving, even if it is just to then sit at a park, is good for them. Fresh air, warm sunshine, new people…what more does a dog want!

This is Brooklyn, an 8 yr old Chocolate Lab. She is available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue!
This is Brooklyn, an 8 yr old Chocolate Lab. She is available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue!

 

There are many other tips to help keep your dog healthy & happy as they age. I think it is important to be informed. Research, and know what to start looking for. And most importantly, love, spoil, and care for your dog until their last day! Be loyal and committed to them, as they have devoted their life to you. No matter how hard it may be to say goodbye, your dog deserves to have you by his side through the final days.

That’s all for now! Have a great weekend, and stay warm!

Have a great weekend, & stay warm!

5 thoughts on “Friday’s Facts: Tips for your Senior Dogs”

  1. It can be so difficult to think about our dogs aging. I know that I, for one, am in complete denial that my 5, soon to be SIX, year old boxer, is anything less than immortal. Thanks for reminding us of this important information. I especially appreciated the part about managing diets… to some extent, I would rather see an elderly dog that is a little bit underweight, than even a little bit overweight.

    1. I agree! I dread the day when I have to go through saying goodbye to a pup again. Maybe by then we can figure out a miracle immortal drug! 😉

  2. When our dogs started to slow down mentally (standing in a corner, forgetting what they were doing) at a really advanced age, our vet recommended SAM-E, which is a supplement for depression in humans. I’m talking 13 or 14 years, here. And of course you should always check with your own vet before giving meds. But the SAM-E worked wonders for what we called doggie dementia, so if you have a really senior dog whose mind is starting to seem a little foggy, this is something to ask your own vet about.

    Great advice! Happy weekend everybody!

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