Age doesn't just affect us, it affects our pets as well. As dogs get older they can go through many changes, just as we do. Though we hate to see our little friends go through the aging process there is some good news. There are ways that we can help them stay healthy, active and comfortable so that they can live their years out happily.
1. Energy Level
Slowing down is a side effect of old age. This is natural and with time your dog will start to move slower and need more sleep. If you are used to taking them on long walks, split them up and take a few short walks instead. The older your dog gets, the more time you should give your pup to relax and rest.
2. Weight Gain
Since senior dogs are sleeping more and exercising less, they have the tendency to bulk up. Slow down on the excess treats to help them maintain a healthy weight. But if you do want to give your pooch a treat, give them something healthy like a carrot.
Also just as with humans, extra weight on dogs can lead to diabetes, joint pain and breathing issues. So it is a good idea to feed your dog twice a day, rather than giving the food as soon as their bowl is empty. And lastly, you should also get your pup up and moving. Help them get a little exercise by taking them on short walks or by having a little play time each day.
A dog's eye lens is usually transparent when they are young. But as they age the lens becomes thicker, causing it to appear a cloudy-grayish color. Dog's eyes can also get sensitive to bright lights. Older dogs can even develop cataracts, just like a human, which weaken their vision and can result in total blindness. Cataracts can be removed with surgery. So make sure that you keep an eye on your pup's eyes.
4. Nails & Fur
Your dog's fur and nails can get dry and brittle with age. So adding essential fatty acids to their diet is a good idea. Because these fatty acids can benefit the appearance of their coat as well as help with splitting nails.
5. Their Behavior
Older dogs can become more aggressive and forgetful as well. They can startle more easily and their first instinct is to protect themselves, hence the aggression. Keep in mind that some behavioral changes can be caused by underlying medical conditions such as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. This syndrome is comparable to Alzheimer's and dementia in humans.
Overnight restlessness can also be a bit of an unnerving behavioral change. And your dog can also forget learned behaviors like going outside to use the restroom or become confused more easily. Keeping your dog confined in a smaller area like in a large dog pen for outdoors and dog kennel in indoors with their favorite items can help soothe them and make them feel more comfortable.
Dogs are living longer and healthier lives than ever, thanks to better nutrition options and science advancements. But with old age still comes the effects of aging. So it is crucial that we pay close attention to our pets as they get older to be able to give them the senior life that they deserve.