Some of us know what it means to be getting older, a little more creaky in the joints, or slower in our gait, but when is your dog considered to be a senior? The answer depends upon the breed. Generally, larger dogs age faster than small breed dogs. This is especially true when considering genetic predisposition and mobility issues, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. Often larger pets will have difficulty in getting up and down stairs, or in and out of a vehicle. Ramps can be helpful to the pet, as well as his owner. Big dogs can be heavy to manage.
Alternately, is your dog a couch potato? Excessive weight gain and obesity can also be a problem. It’s important to encourage your pup to start slowly and exercise regularly, to build stamina and positive habits. It’s important to keep your dog mentally stimulated and engaged.
As a rule, you’ll see that mature dogs have different and specialized needs. We recommend that you feed your senior a high-quality diet, suitable for his digestion, caloric needs, and activity level. Your vet will be able to offer some insight and guidance at your annual visit.
Another consideration is your pet’s oral health. dental disease and tooth loss can be very painful for your pet, making it difficult for your him to eat. This can contribute to weight loss and overall declining health. Brush his teeth, give him fresh breath, and in the long run, your dog will be grateful.
Whenever possible, we recommend that you consider hiring an in-home dog care provider for your animal as he gets older. While this may cost a little more, you will save in terms of energy and logistics. And your pet will be much more comfortable in his own familiar surroundings. It will be less taxing on him, both physically and emotionally, and you will have peace of mind, knowing that someone is keeping an eye on him. At Club Pooche, we welcome and accommodate senior dogs, and have specialized exercise and socialization programs. To learn more, give me a call at 410.730.2275. We can set up a time to meet or talk more!