In order to help our dogs live their best life we have to know what to plan for as they age and grow. Once we are out of puppyhood, it is easy to forget to be on the lookout for senior years before they hit to ensure we are helping them have the best transition into the golden years. Watch our segment with KELOLAND Living here!
Prepare: Many factors will affect when your pup is considered a senior. Breed, size, and lifestyle all play a part. Also knowing your breed or mix of breeds can help determine when senior cares should begin, even with dogs in the same size range. Labradors are considered seniors at seven years, while German Shorthaired Pointers begin their senior years at nine years old.
Understand: Knowing your dog’s breed or mix of breeds will also point you in a direction of what health issues to look out for. Many breeds are predisposed to have certain health problems as they age. Familiarize yourself with the possible health problems and their symptoms so you can catch symptoms as soon as they start to help develop a plan to keep your dog comfortable. Some health issues may also be prevented with supplements or preventative care, like glucosamine and fish oil supplements.
As your dog is in the senior years, it is important to start taking your pets in for semi-annual check ups, even if they don’t seem ill. This will help to catch any developing issues early, sometimes prior to symptoms being shown. When you are able to catch issues sooner, generally better outcomes can be expected. It is also good to start thinking and planning for vet bills and decisions that will come down the road.
Plan: A common issue for our pets as they get old is mobility issues. As they start to age, consider adding ramps or stairs to places that they generally jump down from, especially cars. Jumping down onto pavement is tough on joints! Add rugs if you notice your pet struggling on slick floors. Also, know that mobility issues can be from many causes, such as nerve pain or joint pain or even neurological issues. So checking out when you notice these symptoms to determine the root of the pain will help to keep your pet healthy and happy.
They will also lose eyesight and hearing- just like senior people! If you notice they are ignoring common commands or sayings, sleeping through you coming home, or bumping into items, make sure to accommodate your home for their hearing and sight loss.
Start: Remember to keep your seniors active- but with appropriate exercise. This may mean shorter walks instead of a run, but movement will help keep those joints moving! Make sure they are maintaining a healthy weight. If they stop finding their meal time as appetizing, you can add water to their kibble or even some bone broth may help them find it more appealing. We don’t want them to lose muscle mass or too much fat as they age.
Hopefully with these tips you and your dog can enjoy those wonderful senior years!
Ready to give your pet their best life? Check out our Lucky Pup Explorers program. This is our special online community for Lucky Pup Families. Members get additional support and resources to explore how to live their best lives together with their pets! Join our program today!