1. Increase your home’s accessibility to limited-mobility dogs
One day you may start to notice your dog is making some behavioural changes of their own as they turn another year older. You may start to notice an aversion to certain rooms or the frequency with which they are running up and down stairs or even going outside. Slipping and sliding can mean fun to a puppy, but to a senior it can mean pain and strain. So take care of any slippery floors by placing additional runners or carpeting down where pets don’t feel so stable anymore. Investing in a ramp for the car is a good way to assist your pet in getting in and out of the vehicle with little strain.
2. Regular Exercise
Though they may have slowed down, it is important to keep your dog moving regularly. Muscles need exercise to stay strong and regular walks and park visits will support muscle development, prevent obesity, improve their mood by preventing anxiety and boredom and stimulate their appetite. So keep moving regularly to maintain good muscular and mental health.
3. Supportive Canine Therapy
Stiff joints, old injuries happen to everyone even our pets. Medications may be a solution but be sure to consider some of the safe, natural alternatives now available. These include Laser Therapy – which can treat acute and chronic injuries, arthritis, muscle pulls, and other sources of pain. Hydrotherapy, which can include swimming in warm pool and underwater treadmill work, can relieve pain without stressing joints and build cardiovascular health and core strength. Acupuncture can improve chronic problems such as respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal problems and more. Physical Therapy helps regain body function and will consist of a customized program that when coupled with an owner who can assist with home based therapy can be very effective.
4. Good Grooming
While important at any stage in the pets life, senior dogs benefit from more frequent visits to the groomer for a number of reasons. Whether you groom your dog yourself or have them professionally done, it is a great opportunity to evaluate any physical changes in pet. Whether their fur is hiding a hot spot, rash or growth. Getting your hands all over them allows you to notice and monitor any growths under the skin that may indicate tumours. You will also be able to examine your dogs mobility, if they are having trouble standing for too long, or are they sensitive in a limb. Also a good opportunity to check inside ears, get a good look at their teeth and their eyes. Don’t forget to make sure their nails or nice and trim and not getting overgrown and causing them pain.
5. Adjust their Diet
Senior dogs may benefit from food that is easier to chew and digest. Perhaps they are not as active as they used to be and require a reduced calorie diet. Feeding less of their normal food though may not give them the vitamins and nutrients they need even though you are cutting calories. Supplements may be considered to boost the value of the food. Switching to a canned dog food may help with dogs who have a hard time chewing kibble and who require a increase in the moisture content.