Your best canine friend may not be as young as he used to be, but that doesn’t mean his life has to be any less fun or rewarding. Senior dogs can be just as joyous, playful, and loving as ever, but they need some life adjustments to stay healthy and safe.
1. Make the annual veterinarian trip biannual.
Just like their Pet Parents, aging puts senior dogs at higher risk for heart issues, cancers, and more. Early detection is key to the prevention and management of these conditions, so make more frequent vet visits a priority.
2. Senior-proof your home.
Those joints aren’t what they used to be! Make your home easier to navigate by adding small ramps or lifts to your senior dog’s favorite resting spots. Arrange furniture to eliminate obstacles or blind spots in their hangout spaces. You can add area rugs to rooms with hardwood or tile floors to make walking a little easier for your buddy, too.
3. Adjust exercise to appropriate levels.
Staying active is important for a senior dog. Work with your vet or a pet physical therapist to determine exercise habits that can keep your pal moving and grooving.
4. Keep the mind sharp.
As your dog’s physical activities decrease, look for ways to keep the brain of your wise old pooch stimulated. Trade out one of your tug matches with a puzzle or treat-search game.
5. Their diet may be due for a remix.
Call up the DJ (diet jockey) because it’s time for a new mix! In addition to switching to senior formula dog foods, your older dog may need extra supplements found in new treats or canine vitamins. Work with your vet to determine a personalized diet that keeps your dog spry and alert.
6. Watch their waistline.
A few extra pounds will have an impact on your senior dog’s aging frame. Be consistent about feeding and exercise to keep your good old dog at an optimal weight.
7. Clean teeth support a clean bill of health.
Weak teeth and unhealthy gums can lead to heart and kidney issues in senior dogs, so regular brushing and dental treats are crucial to well-being. Bonus: Your bud’s kisses will be fresher than ever!
8. Step up your grooming game.
With all those (well-deserved) naps taking the place of fetch, increased inactivity could lead to matting and skin irritation. More consistent grooming will keep your dog’s silver-speckled coat shiny and soft.
9. Revisit their social circle.
As their energy and activity levels change, so might your dog’s desire to be in the center of all the action. A dog park full of chipper puppies may rejuvenate one elder dog, but quiet playdates with a like-minded senior may be the right speed for another.
10. There’s nothing wrong with a little luxury.
Why not spoil him a little in old age? From impromptu trips to the park to cushioned beds, there are plenty of healthy ways to add some extra comfort and excitement to your dog’s golden years. He’s earned it.