Tips For Caring For Your Senior Dog
Every being in this world comes to the last stage of life where there body functioning changes, where the lifestyle changes and everything starts degrading from health to life. As we human being need that extra essence of care and love at this crucial stage of life similarly our dogs do need that extra care and love when they age. Pet’s functions starts getting declined, their power to memorize things starts degrading, their senses can even stop working, they can aimlessly perform things, overall it won’t be wrong to say that the whole activity level of your pet’s body starts decreasing. They would no longer feel like jumping all around or even at you, they may not like to climb stairs (as there body struggles in doing that and may feel stiffness), they can even stop playing as their body age, but still they need a good amount of exercise and activities daily to stay fit both mentally and physically (just because they don’t like to do things you can’t make them sit all day).
Not only health but you will even observe changes in their social behavior which may bring a lot of change in the bond you share with your pet and also in the bond your dog shares with the other pets. Your pet can have severe mood swings while aging like they can be too much dependent on you and some of the pets become less affectionate and caring.
Now if we talk about the certain age at which the dog grows old then its highly indescribable because the age of being old is different in case of every pet like the pet Great Dane grows old when they are 5 to 6 years old and the pet Chihuahua grows old at the age of 10 to 11. So it’s really very hard to describe a certain age at which the dog grows old. But almost a dog of age in between 10 to 12 years is similar to the human being of age 60 to 90 years.
Few symptoms that may help you know that your pet is really growing old
- Lethargic behavior can be observed
- Persistent vomiting starts
- Cloudy pupils (cataract)
- Frequent urination
- Weight starts to change
- Healing rate decreases
- Heart weakens (heart disease may occur)
- Pain while urinating (they can even struggle in controlling their urine)
- Their breathe can become a bit smelly and tacky
Health Problems Your Dog May Face When They Age
Growing old brings lots of health problems in life similar is the case with pets. Your pet starts developing many health issues as they grow old, some of the health problems are arthritis, diabetes, blindness, cancer, dental disease, hearing loss, cognitive dysfunction, heart diseases, hypothyroidism and kidney disease. Now we will discuss about all these diseases:
It is a very painful disease. It is basically a joint disease which brings lots of inconvenience and pain. They no longer wish to jump and climb because they have severe stiffness in body and joints.
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
When diabetes is found in dogs at an older age then that is called as diabetes mellitus. Actually the pancreas of your dog is not able to produce insulin because of which it becomes difficult to maintain the level of sugar in the body (in many ways the diabetes in dogs is similar to the diabetes in human beings). This is more common in female dogs than male dogs moreover the unsprayed female can catch diabetes sooner than spayed female.
With age dogs start losing their eyesight and develop up diseases like cataracts (they have cloudiness in pupil), dry eye (bluish haze in pupil), nuclear sclerosis (redness in eyes) or complete vision loss (cannot see anything).
There are many types of cancer but the kind of cancer found in dogs at old age are lymphoma cancer, osteosarcoma cancer, soft tissue cancer, oral melanoma cancer and mammary cancer. Symptoms you may observe when your dog is suffering from cancer are bleeding, loss of appetite, bumps are found increasing, they face difficulty in breathing, problem in urinating, lack of energy, difficulty in eating and problem in swallowing and lameness.
There is trouble chewing for a dog at an old age. The plaque and tartar are build so to stop this from building you should brush your dog’s teeth from an early age.
Yes with the loss of vision and teeth, ears are also the one which badly gets affected due to old age. So keep yourself prepared for this and start teaching them hand signal from an early age. Teach them how to catch your vibrations because that will help them catch your presence even when they lose hearing at an old age.
Cognitive Dysfunction (Senility)
This disease is also known to be as senility. This disease can make your dog anxious, forgetful and confuse as well. They will get addicted to sleeping more and more.
When a dog is suffering from heart disease they start getting exhausted very soon (even when they do mild exercises) than in normal life even. They start coughing mostly at night. They can have problem while breathing. The most immediate and severe issue of cancer arises when you observe bluish appearance on gums or tongue, if you observe this appearance then immediately take them to the doctor (very serious sign of cancer).
This is a very common disease at old age and one of the dangerous one. The only way to get out of this disease is to keep going through geriatric exam at regular intervals so that you can catch the problem at an early age.
When the secretion of thyroid gland is not at an adequate rate then this disease is caused.
Things to take care at old age
Proper Visit To Doctor (body evaluation)
It is important to keep a check on the diseases your pet might be going through. To catch the disease at an early stage you must make them visit to the doctor at regular interval.
Give High Quality Food To Your Pet
Always feed your pet with the high quality food especially when they are in there old age. Take the right amount and right quality of food. Feeding the right amount of food is also important because then only you will be able to keep their body weight ideal. In case your pet is suffering from heart disease or kidney disease then their fooding should be proper as told by the doctor (vet can help you with the best possible food).
Exercise Them On Regular Basis
Although when your dog grows old they become lethargic as their energy level goes down but that doesn’t mean that you will make them sit for the whole day, their body needs a certain amount of exercise and you should make them do that. Doing exercise will help them reduce their risk of heart failure, kidney problems and arthritis. At times you may feel your pet is not perfectly ready to exercise at an intense rate so make a slow and steady start (be careful with the dogs with short nose mostly on hot days).
To Keep Your Pet Occupied Keep Them Busy With Toys
Bring lots of toys for your pet, so that they can keep themselves busy in that. Good food and good toys make your mental and physical health stable (it even helps in weight loss).
Get Your Dog a Special Place To Live At
If your dog is suffering from arthritis then they need special kind of soft and cushioned beds. Even if they are not suffering from arthritis and has entered old age then they need carpet all around so that they don’t hurt their joints. Put ramps on stairs so that they can easily climb without hurting.
Take Care of Your Pet's Teeth
Normal human even start losing teeth at old age same is the case with your pet. The only way to treat this out is to take precautions with your pet from an early age. Do proper brushing so that their gums and teeth remain strong and doesn’t cause issues at an old age.
Diet For a Dog At Old Age
High Quality Protein
This include mostly the food from animals like chicken liver. This high quality protein helps in building and maintaining muscles. But know well the need of type of protein for your pet.
Fat Free Food
To maintain a healthy body and skin choose the high quality but fat free food for your pet. Because it is really important for your pet to maintain their body and not to get fat.
Always choose such brand of food which offers not more than 5 % fiber in it. It helps through digestion (nutrients are absorbed excellently).
These molecule helps in building up the proper immune system. It helps in ridding the free radical from the body which may ruptures cell membrane and DNA.
*At old age taste act as being a big factor so keep a special conduct that your dog gets the food of his taste. And yes never miss out their schedule of food, they should get their food at a particular or at a specified time.