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4 Tips to Help Out Your Ageing Dog

Posted by Kevin K on

It may seem like just yesterday you welcomed your four-legged friend into your life. So it’s no wonder that you often find yourself in disbelief that your dog is now mature aged. Needless to say, your love for them won’t change and only grows stronger with time. One thing that will change, however, is their health. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to support their needs at this stage of their life. Here are our top 4 tips you should implement today.

1. Maximize Their Comfort

We all want our furry best friends to be comfortable, but ensuring their comfort becomes even more pressing as they age. After all, older dogs are more likely to suffer from health conditions that can leave them feeling achy and tired. For example, arthritis is a painful condition that affects many dogs, with the likelihood of getting it increasing with age. The South Boston Animal Hospital notes that around 20% of all adult dogs have arthritis, with dogs aged 7 or older having a 65% chance of suffering it.

You can help your dog with this and any condition they are facing by making a few minor adjustments. Consider swapping their bed for an orthopedic bed to support their achy muscles. Placing a soft and cozy blanket on or near their favorite resting place is another small adjustment that will make a big impact to their comfort. 

2. Sign Up to Pet Insurance

Just as inevitable as your dog ageing is the fact that their body will become more prone to aches and pains, as well as other illnesses. Accidents may also occur more frequently as the years tick on. That’s why regular checkups are so vital to maintaining your dog’s health. Dogs of all ages should have regular checkups with their vet, but it’s particularly important for ageing dogs to get them as their health is less stable and is more susceptible to change.

Needless to say, regular checkups come with a substantial price tag. Even more expensive still are visits concerning accidents or health problems. One smart way to keep your costs to a minimum is to sign up for reliable pet insurance. As coverage varies from plan to plan, make sure to do your research to find one that best supports your dog’s needs as well as your budget.

3. Make Sure They Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can substantially impact your dog’s health. Unfortunately, the symptoms of dehydration may not seem obviously linked to a lack of water intake, so it can sometimes be difficult to recognize when your dog is suffering from it. As AKC points out, common symptoms include:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy
  • Panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Thick saliva

As you can see, it’s all too easy to dismiss one or more of these symptoms as just minor inconveniences, or to put them down to other causes. This is especially easy to do with ageing dogs because DogTime points out, dehydration can be caused by certain conditions including kidney disease, diabetes, and some cancers. As such, it’s critical to be vigilant if you notice any symptoms. 

If your dog is suffering from minor dehydration, provide them with fresh, cool water. If they are showing more serious symptoms, take them to the vet ASAP. Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Get into the habit of carrying a travel bottle filled with water, so you can conveniently keep them hydrated when you’re on the go. If you’re at home, make sure their bowl is always filled, particularly on hot days.

4. Feed Them Precisely What They Need

One of the most noticeable changes that occurs in older dogs is their eating habits. It’s quite common for older dogs to require less food to keep them sustained than their younger counterparts. To accommodate for this change, you will need to modify how much food you give them. You may even need to modify how often you serve it to them too. 

Rather than relying on guess work, ask your vet for their recommendation. Once you know the right amount you should be feeding them, it’s crucial that you stick to it. Use a digital scale to measure out the precise amount of food they need. It’s also important to check with your vet what type of food you should be feeding them. Feeding them precisely what they need will in turn ensure they’re getting the optimal nutrition they need to stay healthy. 

About the Author

Kristin Hitchcock is a frequent contributor at Pet Life Today. She was born and raised in Tennessee and currently lives there with her husband and toddler. Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents weave a fulfilling and enriching life for their pets by educating them about lesser-known topics and helping them make the best decisions possible for their pets. She owns three dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard.

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