Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
They’re not just pets. They’re family members. So when your fur-babies enter their senior years, you want to do everything possible to keep them happy, healthy and active.
You can’t turn back the clock to their puppy days, but there are a lot of ways to minimize the problems of old age in dogs.
Thankfully some of them are amazingly simple, too. Here are ten proven things to help with older dog health.
10. The right dog bed
Older dogs, like older people, often have to deal with aches and pains. And suddenly, that time spent stretched out on the floor or curled up on a rug isn’t comfortable for your pup any more.
A soft, supportive dog bed can make all the difference in the world to your dog’s comfort. And if chilly weather is an issue, a heated bed might be the best gift you can give your aging pet.
9. Dental care
Older teeth need more care, so make sure you keep your dog’s smile healthy with regular cleanings. Between cleanings, use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to keep plaque and food debris under control.
8. Supplement joint health
The right joint supplements can keep your dog moving comfortably well into old age, so make sure a good Glucosamine chewable made for older dogs is a part of your daily routine. (Check with your vet if you’re not sure about the dosage.)
7. Play time
Whether they’re puppies or senior citizens, almost all dogs have one thing in common: they need playtime. Make sure your older dog gets some socialization and play time with other dogs. Other older dogs might play at the same level, but sometimes a younger dog can inspire more playfulness and activity.
If you need to start the “games”, just bringing a toss-and-fetch toy like a flying disc or a ball can do the trick.
6. Soothing shampoos and conditioners
Sooth dry or itchy older skin with gentle dog shampoos and healing conditioners. Turn bath time into a massage with a soft, rubber scrubber. Do make sure the water is warm and a towel is at hand as senior dogs can get chilled when they’re wet, even on a warm day.
5. Daily vitamins
A young dog might be able to get all of their nutrition from the food they eat. But as dogs age, appetites can fade leaving them short on critical nutrients. That’s why a good multivitamin designed for the needs of seniors is a must when you’re shopping for things to help with older dog health. If pills are an issue, look for a liquid or powder than can be mixed with a favorite food.
4. Activities to challenge them
Sure they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that bit of popular wisdom couldn’t be more wrong. Not only can old canines master new things, the challenge of new tricks and skills is an important part of keeping them active and young-at-heart.
3. Warm options for outdoor time
Keeping warm can become harder as dogs get older, whether they’re tiny lap dogs or great big dogs. Warm dog sweaters, “Barkas” and even booties to keep tender feet safe from snow and ice will help elderly dogs stay warm enough to enjoy daily walks even in winter.
2. Effective flea and tick control
Keeping your dog free from fleas and other pests is important at every age, but for senior dogs it can be critical. But what worked on a younger dog might not be the right choice for elder canines. Check with your vet to make sure the pest protection you’re using is still effective as your pet ages.
1. Time with you
Time with you, their much-loved person, is the very best of all things to help with older dog health. An evening cuddling on the couch, a walk through the park or some time on the patio of a favorite coffee shop can all remind older dogs that you love them, too.
Our elderly dogs are precious members of the family. Treat them with love and caring, and they will give you everything they have until the very end.