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Dogs over 10 years can be considered older dogs, that is, a dog that exceeds that age (and especially if it is large) is an elderly dog.
Older dogs give off a certain tenderness, you will know it especially if you have ever had one: older dogs remind us in a certain way of a puppy dog either because of their needs, care or because of their delicacy.
In this AnimalWised article we are going to give you the best tips to improve the quality of life of older or elderly dogs and provide them with greater comforts. Read on to discover the caring for an elderly dog, a complete guide to everything you need to know.You may also be interested in: Complete guide to care for elderly cats Index
- Caring for an older dog takes dedication and will
- The feeding of the elderly dog
- What should be the walks of the elderly dog
- Constant affection
- In the home
- Diseases of elderly dogs
- The foster homes, a wonderful option
Caring for an older dog takes dedication and will
As we have commented previously, dogs that are older than 10 years are already considered an old dog, an old dog. Even so, we must know that small dogs tend to live longer, it will depend on the particular case..
During this final stage of his life (fear not, ¡sometimes it can be very long!) the dog experiences changes in behavior, sleeps much more and may even suffer from illnesses for his weak immune system if we don't pay attention to him. Our mission is to try to mitigate the effects of age taking into account three basic factors:
- Cheer up
The feeding of the elderly dog
The feeding of the elderly, elderly or senior dog is extremely important, it has different needs from those of an adult dog. For this, it is essential to follow these tips:
- An elderly dog should be provided, must not be obese. Maintaining an optimal figure is very beneficial since we prevent our dog from putting excessive weight on his bones and muscles.
- To make sure your dog is well fed, it is important to go to the vet every 6 months for an analysis and a general check-up, ruling out anemia or other problems..
- If your dog is in good physical shape and eats without problem, you should change his diet to a I think light or senior. These feed have fewer calories and are specific to this stage of their life. Remember that it must be a quality food.
- If, on the other hand, the senior dog is too thin, the ideal is that we try to make him gain weight with puppy food, rich in fat.
- If you notice that your dog does not drink water frequently, you can try adding chicken or fish broth to the feed (if he accepts it). You can also increase the consumption of patés and wet food, rich in water.
- Your dog should have plenty of fresh, clean water.
- At this stage of his life his teeth may be damaged, forget about giving him hard bones to gnaw on, it is preferable to use an apple for this.
- It can happen that the dog eats and spits his food, or that he simply does not want to eat. In these cases we advise you to look for a higher quality feed and even occasionally prepare homemade diets. Go to the vet if he doesn't eat.
- You can add vitamins to your dog's diet if you think he needs extra energy, you can ask your vet or a pet store how you should administer them.
- If your elderly dog eats too fast and you are afraid of gastric torsion, you can spread the feed on a clean and disinfected floor. In this way, you will help him use his smell and eat more slowly..
- Remember that sometimes elderly dogs with problems such as senile dementia may be eating and leaving (forgetting that they are eating) in these cases we recommend monitoring during intake.
- It can also happen that the elderly dog that suffers from deafness or vision loss does not want to eat if you are close, it is normal, offering confidence by staying close is a good idea.
If we do not feed or hydrate our elderly dog correctly, serious problems such as kidney failure or heart problems can appear. It is important to review and verify that our dog is properly nourished.
What should be the walks of the elderly dog
The elderly dog sleeps more hours than an adult dog, but don't be confused by this: needs to walk and socialize like any other dog. For this, it is important that we adapt physical exercise to your specific situation since dogs that are very old have reduced physical activity, but it must also be maintained.
We recommend giving more walks but shorter (never longer than 30 minutes) especially in the early morning or afternoon at sunset. If we are under the direct midday sun it can be harmful since it produces excessive and unnecessary heat. Walking with our dog helps to maintain his muscles and control obesity, a risk factor at this stage. You can practice many activities with an elderly dog.
Also remember that you should be careful if your dog suffers from hearing or visual deficiencies, it is more sensitive to the environment and therefore you should hear or see for it. Learn about caring for a blind dog.
Finally, it is essential to add that we must be considerate and understand that our elderly dog may show different behaviors in relation to this new stage. Do not pull on the leash or treat him disproportionately, be patient with him during walks even if he is slower or does not want to walk at times. Always carry some goodies with you to motivate him.
The elderly dog can change its behavior, showing itself more independent, attached and we can even appreciate that it cries when we leave home: has greater affection needs.
One of the most common problems that happen to older dogs is that when they sleep a lot, their families interpret that they should leave them alone. It is true that we must let him rest and not interrupt his sleep hours, yes, it is important to show affection on a regular basis, encourage him to play and have fun with the elderly dog Otherwise apathy, sadness and behavior isolated from the family nucleus may appear.
Play and treat him in a special way, remember that perhaps they find it difficult to cheer up and his state is more delicate. Leave toys or intelligence games with food for him when you leave so he can be distracted.
In the home
It is normal for the elderly dog to change its behavior or attitude within the home, perhaps you notice that it follows you in a more exaggerated way: it may be a consequence of deficiencies in its senses, they are afraid of being alone. We recommend that you offer them confidence and that you always count on them to go to the kitchen or the living room, they will thank you.
If your dog has senile dementia it is important to try to maintain order within the home so that it does not feel disoriented.
In addition and in general, due to age, some dogs begin to have pain in their body: bones, muscles ... They also have trouble regulating their temperature. For this reason it is essential that they have a large, comfortable and padded bed where to rest, remember that older dogs sleep a lot.
Diseases of elderly dogs
Older or elderly dogs can suffer all kinds of diseases typical of the passage of time. It is important that you spend some time each day feeling your dog's skin and stroking it to find out if it has sore spots, no one can do it better than you.
It is also important that you carry out the emptying of the anal glands, a common problem in older dogs. If you do not see yourself trained to do it, you can take him to the vet or to the dog groomer for it..
Some of the most common diseases of the elderly dog can be:
- Loss of teeth
- Gastric torsion
- Hip dysplasia
- Renal disease
- Heart disease
It is important to go to the vet more regularly than usual when dealing with an elderly dog. We also want to recommend carrying out an analysis every six months at least to make sure that everything works correctly..
The foster homes, a wonderful option
In various shelters or animal shelters they carry out what we call shelter, a different option: It is about adopt an elderly dog temporarily since they are the segment of abandoned dogs that attracts the least attention.
The center in question offers the veterinary services for free, everything so that the dog can have a dignified end in a home. Find out if there is a center near you where they offer you this possibility and ¡become a foster home!