Senior dogs are a breed of their own – figuratively speaking of course. They require their own set of rules so to speak in order to live their best life. After many years of love, devotion and faithfulness, it’s our duty to make our senior dogs happy as they navigate their way towards their final sunset in life. Keeping your senior dog happy takes a little “know how”, but it requires nothing more than time and attention and love. Your senior dog deserves it. Here is a guide on How to make your senior dog happy.
Keep your senior dog happy by adjusting his diet to meet his needs.
Did you know that overweight dogs age faster than their more lean counterparts? It’s true. As energy levels drop, senior dogs begin to pack on the pounds. Senior dogs require a diet with fewer calories than they needed as adult dogs. Extra weight can lead to health issues, but also contributes heavily to mobility issues.
Many brands of dog food offer a senior dog option, which makes it easy to meet the needs of your aging dog. In fact, there are even formulas made for senior dogs that are dealing with specific
health issues such as kidney disease and diabetes. Treats that are low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium should also be considered to help keep your dog happy. Carrots and apples are
great options and many dogs love them!
In short, feeding your senior dog a diet that meets his specific needs to will keep him feeling better and just happy all around.
Keep your senior dog happy by providing him opportunities to exercise.
Providing opportunities for daily exercise is just as important for senior dogs as it is for puppies and adult dogs. While the duration and intensity of exercise will change as your dog reaches his senior years, the benefits of exercise are still the same. Exercise in all dogs promotes the growth of strong bones and muscles and also promotes good mental health.
Many chronic issues in dogs such as hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and even Lyme disease can impact a senior dog’s mobility, so it’s important to note your dog’s tolerance and desire to get up and move.
Many senior dogs experience some level of pain so it’s important that exercise regimes be discussed with your vet. Never ignore your dog’s reluctance to exercise as he just might be trying to show you that something else is going on.
Keep your senior dog happy by grooming him regularly.
Grooming becomes even more important as your senior dog continues to age. Senior dogs are less likely and often unable to groom themselves like they used to. Regular grooming
will not only keep your senior dog squeaky clean and feeling good, it will also allow you to notice changes in his body.
As a dog ages, you may notice dry and irritated skin and even a dull, flaky coat. Endocrine diseases and hormonal imbalances can have an impact on your senior dog’s skin so it’s
important to be aware of any changes and report them to your dog’s veterinary professionals. Changes in color and fragility may also be noted.
A senior dog’s nails need to be trimmed regularly, too. Your dog may shy away from having his nails cut, but it’s important to continue to do so. A senior dog’s nails become thicker as
he ages and sometimes brittle, too. Any overgrowth in your dog’s nails can make it incredibly uncomfortable to move about. A little attention to your senior dog’s pads is important too. A little paw balm goes a long way in providing his old tootsies some relief.
Lumps and bumps have the tendency to pop overnight as well. If your hands are on your senior dog regularly, you will quickly notice any new ones that show up. Keep your senior dog happy by taking him to the vet regularly.
Taking your senior dog to the vet becomes even more important as he gains in years.
Increased all around veterinary care means that more dogs are reaching senior status and living longer and longer. This means that more age related care is needed.
It’s recommended that senior dogs visit the vet at least twice a year. Senior well visits are similar to an adult dog’s well visits. These visits just involve a little more investigation.
Dental care, blood work, and other tests may be suggested by your vet. It’s important to address any issues immediately because any delay can impact your senior dog’s quality of
life as well as his long term prognosis. Many aspects of a dog’s health care are impacted by the aging process. Here are just a few:
- Diet and Nutrition
- Weight Gain
- Parasite Prevention
- Mental health
- Diseases of the Reproductive System
Mental stimulation should be at the forefront of every senior dog’s daily routine.
Senior dogs need mental stimulation just as much as younger dogs. Keep your senior dog happy by giving his brain a boost. Whoever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” had no idea what they were talking about.
While it’s true that a dog’s brain shrinks as he ages, just like his human counterpart’s brain, keeping your senior dog mentally sharp can help to delay the aging process. It’s easier to integrate than you might think. By playing with your senior dog, including interactive toys and puzzles to his day and training him you can keep your senior dog in tip top shape mentally. Exposing your dog to new things in and of itself can actually alter the brains physiology.
In addition to play, training and interactive toys a senior dog’s brain power can be protected in other ways.
Keep your senior dog happy by giving him a bed fit for a senior dog.
There are many dog beds out there, aren’t there? If you never gave much consideration to what your dog is sleeping on, now’s the time. A senior dog should have a bed that’s made
especially for him. Senior dogs have new needs, after all. They might feel the pain of arthritis or even have incontinence issues through the night. And well, if your dog is anything like the average woman experiencing menopause, he may experience hot flashes and then be a bit chilly soon thereafter. No matter what the case, there’s a bed made for him.
Orthopedic Dog Beds
Orthopedic dog beds are a fan favorite for senior dogs. The memory foam that these beds are made of will support your senior dog in ways that other beds simply can’t.
Memory foam stays firm and is also temperature sensitive. Pressure point pain will be a thing of the past after sleeping on an orthopedic bed.
Elevated Dog Beds
Elevated dog beds are also quite popular among the senior dog population. These beds are often constructed of PVC and or nylon fabric, which makes clean up easy. The benefits seem to be the full body support as well as temperature control due to air circulation. They’re easy to keep clean, too, making them a great option for senior dogs that like to lounge in the good old outdoors.
Keep your senior dog happy by giving him lots of love and patience.
Life is not always sunshine and roses with a senior dog in the house. It can be exhausting and even aggravating at times as your senior dog deals with physical and mental health
issues you don’t always know how to deal with. The one thing your dog will always pick up on is your attitude towards him. If you’re upset with him, you’ll break his heart.
When you don’t know what else to do take a deep breath and show patience, kindness and hug the heck out of his furry neck. You can even cry in his fur. He’ll be ok with that. He just
needs to know you are always in his corner. Your loving companion doesn’t just deserve that, he NEEDS that from you most of all to be a happy senior dog.
Helping your senior dog to live his best life will keep him happy and feeling loved. That’s all we ever really want for any of our loved ones, isn’t it. By following this senior dog happiness plan, your senior dog is sure to live his best life – all thanks to you.