Dogs seem to grow up so fast, starting out as tiny puppies and maturing into the most faithful of friends a person can have. But time doesn’t stop and dogs continue to mature throughout life, both mentally and physically.
With age, maturity is developed, but it also slowly takes a toll on the body. Over time, joints experience wear, hearing softens, and even fur seems to take on a touch of grey. Not many owners really think about their dog getting old because it changes our friend in so many ways. Playtime isn’t the same anymore and even daily habits will change with sight and memory.
While age is inevitable, health and well-being are a matter of being prepared. The truth is that dogs are only as old as they feel, and if a loving owner can make sure their dog maintains a healthy lifestyle in a comfortable environment, your dog can enjoy youthful activities far into their senior years.
Start right here, right now
Health is the epitome of well-being, not only affecting them now but also in the years to come. Providing a quality diet to ensure they are eating healthy is the best place to start. Diets play a big role in how our bodies function through the proper amounts of nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Of course, a diet isn’t complete without an effective meal plan. Dogs should be fed smaller portions of food multiple times throughout the day, helping to keep their metabolism regulated so they have energy to play and stay active. Feeding one large meal a day can result in fat storages and increased chances of obesity.
That means you should also be concerned with your dog’s weight. Dog obesity is a growing problem which stems many more issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and even early arthritis conditions. But, keep in mind that diet isn’t the only part of this process.
Dogs need to stay active in both mind and body. For the body, this actually influences the lubrication of joints, improving the odds against arthritic condition. Exercise keeps their bodies actively working, helping to maintain weight levels and ensure healthy circulation, which can be a big problem in aging dogs.
Healthy tip #2
Take care of your dog’s hygiene. Proper teeth and gum care can prevent heart disease by preventing many of the infections that result from an unhealthy mouth. While these infections tend to have detrimental effects on the circulatory system, there is also the matter of losing a few teeth. And, the fewer teeth you have, the less you can chew. Also keep in mind that nails should be trimmed, either monthly or bi-monthly depending on their nail-growth rate. This will prevent their toes from twisting to relieve the pressure of overgrown nails and reduce the chances of nail splitting, which can also cause serious infections.
Stiffness commonly develops in dogs around the ages of 5, 6, or 7, depending on your dog’s physical size. Larger dogs tend to develop these conditions earlier. You may notice that your dog is increasingly slower and stiffer after getting up from a long nap. The best practices include providing plenty of comfortable padding and disallowing them from sleeping on cold, hard flooring that can exasperate stiff joints and cause discomfort. There are even orthopedic dog beds available to provide the best comfort for your friend.
In addition to comfortable resting quarters, there is also the inclusion of a few healthy food supplements for your dog. Glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM are a few of the ideal dietary additives that stimulate joint health and help reduce inflammation (MSM is a form of sulfur which helps reduce the likelihood of flea and ticks latching on for a ride).
Doggy massages are a great way for increasing circulation and soothing sore joints. You don’t have to be an extreme doggy masseuse to help your dog enjoy a good rub down. Just remember target areas like their chest and paws, which tend to be one of the first areas to lose circulation and feeling.
For dogs with great difficulty moving around, providing an indoor potty location for their convenience helps to ensure a more comfortable environment for any aging dog, especially when a late night potty occurrence calls.
Taking care of your aging dog is better for the both of you when you start as early as possible. A healthy and active lifestyle starts in their youth and its effects carry on into their senior years. Just remember the most important tip of all: Give them plenty of love and attention because that’s all they really want.