Our dogs grow old too, in fact much faster than humans. As the years go by, you may notice that he no longer moves the way he used to do. He seems to be a bit slower, gets tired quickly and prefers to stay at home most of the time. Your job now is to take care of a senior dog.
Keep them active
Most dog experts would suggest that unless your dog is injured, don’t stop exercising your dog. Any physical activity your dog loves to do, let him continue doing it as this will keep him healthy and maintain his muscle tone. Exercise will prevent him from gaining weight which can significantly help his aging joints. You can adjust the intensity of the exercise. You can shorten your dog walks and have shorter ball games.
How to know when is enough and when is too much?
One way to check if your dog is up for the activity is by closely observing your dog. Is your dog still excited when heading out for a jog or a walk? Is he stiff? Is he still able to jump in and out of the car? Does he walk or run with a limp? If you see all these signs on your dog, then there is a probability that your dog has osteoarthritis. This is a common health problem among older dogs. It is a painful condition, which makes your dog reluctant to move.
Weather changes can affect older dogs. Hence the need to change your walking or jog routine.
If it’s exceptionally hot in summer, you can get out in the early morning or late afternoon. If he is stiff due to the cold in winter, you should schedule your walks during the warmest time of the day. You can also let him wear clothes or a jacket to keep him warm.
Swimming is another form of physical activity your dog with arthritis can do. Many experts recommend swimming because it allows your dog to have the physical activity he needs but with less to no impact on your dog’s joints. If you don’t have access to the beach or a pool, you can try searching for animal rehab centers on your area. The center may have swimming pools for dogs that need low-intensity exercise without affecting their joints.
You can also try teaching your old chum new tricks. They may be advanced in years, but they still need to exercise their mental health. A professional canine physical therapist can also help in determining what muscle group needs exercise. He or she will then give you home exercises that you can do with your dog.
The use of dog gears
A specially designed harness for a dog having difficulty using the stairs is now available. The harness, designed with handles on the back, will allow you to help your dog in climbing the stairs. Ramps are also crucial in helping your dog to get in and out of your car without jumping.
If your dog no longer has control over his paws due to certain medical conditions, you can have him fitted with a doggy wheelchair. A pet rehabilitation specialist and your vet can give you the information you need about these gears.
Don’t let age affect the bond you have with your dog. He needs you more than ever. By taking care of your dog’s needs, you are showing him how much you love him. It’s time for payback.