Dogs in their nature will always be young at heart, but we all know the reality of how fast they seem to age and quickly turn from balls of energy to slow moving seniors. We may not always recognize the little things that start to change like the extended duration of their naps or the newly sway in their hind when going for their daily walks. Aside from these tell tale signs of aging, fortunately there are ways to help slow down the process and help your senior dog shed some years off…
Nutritious Diet & Supplements
In today’s world, unfortunately not everyone can agree on what type of diet is best for dogs. Certain veterinarians push packaged kibble, others recommend human-grade options and the rest swear by raw diet foods. Whichever route you end up choosing for your pooch, know that their dietary needs WILL change throughout their lifetime and with every stage of their life. A nutritious diet specifically for your dog’s age and breed, will help them thrive through their senior years. On the other hand, unhealthy diets that lack nutrients, can actually be detrimental to your dog’s health and could possibly subtract years off of their life. Senior dogs digestive systems will change as they age, as well as their need for a certain amount of calories, fats, fiber, proteins, etc. It is best to discuss your dog’s specific needs with a professional veterinarian or any other care provider, before deciding to switch your dog’s diet completely. Incorporating additional supplements can also have a positive impact in helping your senior dog feel younger and healthier. Joint supplements, fatty acids, omegas, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements are all beneficial to them. We recommend, CBD oil for dogs for SO many reasons. If you would like to understand more about what this holistic alternative to medicine is, here is a page we created, that is dedicated to this healing supplement.
Exercise & Other Therapies
When we say exercise, we don’t necessarily mean running or participating in athletic or agility competitions-more power to the dogs who can still do that as seniors! But what we are suggesting is light to moderate exercise a few days a week. A simple daily stroll or swimming session will suffice, as long as your dog stays active! If you don’t have time during the week because of a bust schedule, consider hiring a dog walker to give your dog a break during their day for exercise and extra company. Keeping your dog alert, mobile, flexible and moving is the second key to a younger feeling life. Canine massage is also a wonderful therapy dogs can benefit from at any age-especially as a senior! Making sure to find a certified, professional canine massage therapist is VITAL to your dogs health. It is never recommended to DIY because we don’t want to accidentally hurt our fur babies, we want them to improve. As we all know, aging takes a toll on a body and dogs are no different than humans except that they age seven times faster! Dogs, just as humans, experience arthritis, weight gain, weakness, inflexibility, as well as other health changes. Dogs hearing can diminish, their eyesight may weaken and their mental health can even take a turn for the worst at some point. Daily exercise however, will keep your dog’s blood flow consistent, their muscles strong and reduce inflammation all over their bodies. Our sister company, Dip’n Dogs, offers canine hydrotherapy for a variety of different reasons, some ailments and some just for overall health. If you’d like to learn more about how hydrotherapy can help your senior dog, or dogs of any age, click the link to read about why it works and why your dog is worth it.
Train & Play
The only thing holding dogs back from playtime may be the senior mentality in humans-haha! Like stated above, dogs are always young at heart, but senior dogs no matter the age, will always enjoy one on one play time with their owners. Playtime doesn’t necessarily need to be filled with games of running or fetch, there are SO many fun brain games to play with as well. Puzzles, squeaky toys or even treat dispensing toys can all keep your dog entertained, happy and peppy! Training can help your dog build confidence and feel loved, for the sole reason of giving them your undivided attention and praise, which is all they ever want. Not only is your old dog completely capable of learning new tricks, it’s an excellent way to strengthen your bond with them while keeping their minds sharp. Even if your dog has mastered obedience, the world is full of new things to learn everyday and we know for sure they will never get tired of pleasing you! If your senior dog is losing their hearing or eyesight, there are many cues provided online or from a professional trainer.
A good dental hygiene routine should include daily brushing and regular vet teeth cleanings. Most pet owners may not be aware of the consequences bad dental health can entail. You can expect bad breath, gum recession, and tooth loss, but the bigger problems happen when toxins from periodontal disease travel into your dog’s bloodstream, damaging their kidneys, liver, and brain. This can cause small infections to arise, causing permanent, sometimes even fatal damage to your dog’s organ tissues. Tooth pain can also cause your dog to stop eating, playing, and chewing-crushing their quality of life. We believe it is never too late to start a good dental hygiene routine for your dog. If your dog already has damaged or rotting teeth, ask your veterinarian or care provider about your options or possibly extracting them.
Invest in Good Bedding
As your dog ages, you may notice their 30 minute snooze may turn into a 3 hour nap. The average dog sleeps about 12 hours a day, but senior dogs on average, sleep a whopping 18 hours a day! With sleeping being the majority of how they will spend their senior years, investing in full-body, supportive bedding can make a significant difference in how your dog feels overall. If your dog is constantly trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep, they may become irritated or lose sleep over being frustrated and uncomfortable. This can then lead to stress and fatigue, which is the opposite of what we want for our dogs. After you purchase them a good quality bed, place it near a quiet area, away from all the hustle and bustle in your home. When dogs rest easy and get a good night’s sleep, they will be happier and have more energy upon awakening-just like us humans!
Ultimately, our main goal is obtaining what’s best for our dogs, no matter the age or condition. Keeping ourselves educated and up to date on dog’s specific needs can make a world of a difference in their aging journey. If you are unsure where to start or need help deciding what’s best for your pet, consulting with a veterinarian or other care provider is probably the best option. Long live happy and healthy pets!
About Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Company | Winter Park, FL
Rachel has been working in the Pet Care Industry for the last few years and started her career in a local Canine Health & Fitness Center that also incorporated canine hydrotherapy, dog daycare & boarding. While working at Rocky’s Retreat, under the previous ownership of Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, Rachel became certified in canine hydrotherapy and they taught her everything she knows about canine care, hydrotherapy, health and fitness.
Rachel is currently the owner/founder of Dip’n Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy and Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Service in the Orlando, FL area. Dip’n Dogs provides water therapy for dogs with any orthopedic condition, degenerative disease, injury or obesity. Walk’n Dogs provides mobile in-home visits for dog walking. Each walk is customized to fit each dog and their needs. All walks take place at your home, in your neighborhood. Rachel caters to the Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Maitland andCasselberry areas.
Rachel is also the owner and dog mom to her two beagles, Leo and Lola.