Taking care of your pets when they are young involves a lot of playing, cleaning up after them, and training. Even so, it’s still heartwarming to watch them grow, although it can be challenging to see them age and start to slow down. Our family dog (Bailey) recently turned 11, and while he still hops and skips around like when he was a pup, we can certainly notice the years starting to take effect and the ageing kick in.
As your pet ages, their needs begin to change; there’s a need for extra care, a different diet, and possibly more trips to the vet. Here’s a few thoughts we have on how you can care for your family dog and ensure they feel loved, comfortable and healthy. We would of course caveat this with the fact that we aren’t vets or experts on pet health, but theses are just some of the things we do with Bailey.
More Vet Trips
As pets age, it’s normal for most of them to develop diseases like arthritis or lose some of their senses, such as hearing and sight. Dogs over ten years old are also more likely to get cancer.
Try to visit your vet at least once a year for a check up to help you detect signs of certain diseases early, seek any treatment, and learn how to better care for your pet.
Treatment for some age-related pet diseases involves combining supplements and drug prescriptions and making lifestyle changes.
Introduce a Healthier Diet
Diet has always been an important part of the daily doggy routine for us with Bailey. He is a pedigree Miniature Schnauzer who is gluten intolerant and requires hypoallergenic food. This means we’ve always focused on his diet, even getting personalised diet plans for him throughout the years.
As he has gotten older, this has evolved as we’ve continued to look at food that will be good for his aging joints, and also good for his coat and teeth.
As your pet ages, it’s tempting to start indulging them more. However, this is when you should begin monitoring their diet to ensure it is balanced and healthy.
At an older age, pets, just like humans, tend to lose muscle and gain fat. There is no standard way of measuring a pet’s food intake; some may require more protein and fewer calories, while others need the opposite.
Older pets have less energy to burn calories and may experience digestion problems. Hold discussions with your vet to establish the best diet and start them on a dog food designed for dogs that have upset tummies.
Spend More Time Together
Dogs need more attention from their loved ones as they get older. Your pet cannot cope with stress, unlike in their younger years, and spending time with them is an ideal way to make the most of their time with you.
Hanging out with your older pet also enables you to notice health issues fast and know how to tackle them. Find ways to make your pet comfortable and enjoy your fun time by going for walks and tweaking their training to suit their age.
Keep Exercising Them
When your dog was a puppy, they had all the stamina to play and go for long runs. However, as your pet ages, the energy levels lower, and they may not be able to engage in a lot of activity. As they age, it’s still necessary to exercise your fluffy best friend to keep away obesity and benefit their overall health as their joints can’t hold excess weight.
Ask your vet to recommend the best exercise program. Exercise patience and slowly start to build your pet’s stamina with light jogs and regular walks.
Bailey is a relatively small dog and doesn’t require the same level of walking as other breeds of dog, but we ensure he gets regular daily exercise in the garden and we’re always playing games in the house. He has lots of fun with our 4-year old son Lewis – they keep each other active and occupied.
Got Something To Add?
Pets age differently, but eventually, they all get old. It is heartbreaking to know that you only have a few months or years to spend with them; make the most of it.
Spend more time with your pet to make memories and keep their mental and emotional health in check. Visit the vet often and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Get the right dog bed, introduce a healthier diet, and keep exercising them.
Share your top tips for caring for an ageing dog in the comments section below.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Helen, Nial, Lewis & Bailey (the dog 🙂 )