Old dogs require special attention. In order for an aged pet to lead the most fulfilling life for its age, provide it with comfort, monitor its health, review its diet and walking regime.
What kind of dog is considered old?
The dog’s age is short, and the rate of old age depends on the breed of dog. When the pet is a large breed it will be seven years old, he has already reached a ripe old age. For dogs of small breeds, old age comes later – after reaching eleven years, and their life expectancy is longer.
An attentive host recognizes the signs of aging:
- teeth wear out;
- reduced vision;
- graying hair on the head;
- appetite changes;
- there are problems with defecation and urination;
- temperament changes – activity decreases.
Features of diet
The diet of an age-old dog should be special. Ideally, if it is picked up by a veterinarian, but it can be done by the owner himself.
What should be in the diet:
- vegetable fiber – for the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract;
- vegetable fats – we replace animal fats with them;
- foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
Older dogs are restricted to fish and meat, so as not to overload the kidneys with food rich in protein. The third or fourth part of the total amount of meat eaten should be replaced with porridge and vegetables. Food is salted to a minimum to avoid edema. Let the pet regularly eat cottage cheese to strengthen the bones, drink kefir. Make sure that the dog drinks enough water, cook vegetable soups.
They are banned:
- fatty meat;
- smoked meats and sausages;
- food from your table.
Owners of older dogs who eat ready-made food should choose canned food with the appropriate mark. The composition should not contain flavorings, preservatives and other harmful substances, with the negative impact of which only a young body can cope.
Feed the dog in small portions, but more often – so the digestive system will be easier. Older dogs are prone to obesity due to less activity. And if you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, it’s a signal to feed less. And so that the animal does not suffer from a reduced diet, give it the vitamin supplements recommended by the veterinarian.
If it is already difficult for the dog to eat solid food, then chop it into minced meat or just bring it to a soft consistency, meat and vegetables can be given in small pieces. Make sure that the food is warmed up to room temperature.
Observations at the veterinarian
An aging dog should be regularly shown to the veterinarian. Not all age-related diseases are curable, but in many cases you can help the dog by easing their course. Owners of older dogs need to be prepared for the development of diabetes, heart problems, and kidney stones. Sometimes the first signs of diseases at an early stage in age-related Pets can only be recognized by a doctor. Hormonal changes in the dog’s body at this stage of life can cause serious problems, such as the development of a tumor. So, if the veterinarian recommends to sterilize the dog, it is better to listen to him. If there are no contraindications to vaccinations — they also need to be put. Infectious diseases are especially dangerous for older dogs.
The problem place for age – related dogs is their teeth. To avoid their loss, you need to periodically come to the veterinarian to sanitize the oral cavity and fix other problems. Perhaps the veterinarian will notice that the pet begins to have cataracts – if you do not take action, the dog will lose his sight. Often, the owner cannot recognize the signs of this disease on their own.
Walking and hygiene
With age, dogs lose interest in active pastime, and the daily routine needs to be revised. Even old dogs will not be useful to spend all the time on their favorite bed, which will eventually weaken the muscles and generally negatively affect their health. Therefore, you should not cancel your walks, but you need to make them quieter and shorter. Let the dog just walk slowly next to you.
In older dogs, injuries heal worse, so avoid meetings with young bullying dogs. And so that the pet is not lost due to the poor work of the senses, which no longer allow him to “read” the tags as in his youth, try not to let him off the leash. Older dogs do not hear well, so you just can not call your ward if he runs too far.
Older dogs have less control of the bladder and intestines – if you notice this, then take your pet out for walks more often. In addition to morning and evening walking, it is advisable to organize one or two in the afternoon.
Protect your pet from hypothermia – if you went for a walk in wet weather, first dry its fur, give warm food and drink. Let them in the room where the dog rests, will also be warm. On frosty days, wear a blanket or overalls.
Caring for the hair of an age – old dog is necessarily regular combing with a soft brush. So the fur will look well-groomed, improve blood circulation. The owner will also need to periodically trim the pet’s claws. Wash age – related dogs rarely-hygiene procedure is replaced by cleaning with a special shampoo.
What you need to provide at home
Arrange a comfortable corner for the dog where it can rest as much as it wants. Let the household respect the needs of an elderly pet and do not interfere with it. So that the dog does not wet the litter, use special diapers that are bought for puppies, or put on diapers for animals.
Avoid rearranging furniture – the dog has learned well over the years what and where it is located. With age, he became clumsy and is no longer able to always correctly calculate the trajectory of movement.
The character of a dog can change several times during its life. Old age also changes it, and often not for the better. The owner of an aged dog should be patient with the animal – let it feel that you still love it, and ensure a decent old age.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.