Older Dog Care

Caring for a senior dog- a few useful tips

Watching your dog get old can be a bit heartbreaking – especially if your elderly dog starts to show signs of age-related canine health issues. 

It happens so fast! It often feels like it’s only been a few short years since your pup was energetic, excited, and up for anything! 

Now, you’re starting to notice the grey around his muzzle, the stiffness in his step, and his ever-expanding napping schedule. Maybe Fido’s not interested in walking very far anymore or even seems to be a bit lost in your own house. 

While seeing some of these changes may make you feel sad or worried about your old dog, there are some easy things you can do to make sure they are as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

Start with a visit to your vet.

A good vet is your best ally in making sure that your elderly dog stays as healthy and comfortable as possible during his golden years. Vets can diagnose and help you to navigate many common problems in older canines such as:

  • Cataracts that cause vision problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Cognitive decline or confusion 
  • Arthritis that causes mobility issues
  • Gastrointestinal 
  • Skin rashes or conditions that cause itching and discomfort
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Kidney issues

Knowing what specific conditions your elderly dog has will help you to address them either with a natural holistic approach or with traditional veterinary medicine. 

Try CBD for your dog– studies show promising results.

While there’s still little scientific data on using CBD to treat the ailments of aging dogs, there’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat a number of elderly canine issues:

  • Neuropathic pain
  • cardiovascular function
  • Anxiety- CBD can help reduce stress and increase relaxation
  • Joint pain resulting from arthritis
  • Seizures – in fact, The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is currently sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to assess the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. 

If you decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.

  • Look for organic ingredients. I
  • Don’t shop based on price- shop based on quality and don’t assume that better value means lesser quality. In fact, Saving Grace Pet Care is one of the most competitively priced CBD oils on the market for dogs.
  • Get the analysis-  Always look for third-party testing certificates.
  • Buy CBD as a liquid. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.

Help your senior dog maintain a healthy weight

A healthy weight – as determined by Fido’s vet – will help alleviate the pain from arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. The less extra weight he has pressing on his joints, the less discomfort he’ll be in. 

Dogs that are severely overweight will have issues with joint pain but also issues with their heart and circulation, breathing, and ability to regulate body temperature! 

Always feed a high-quality food designed for senior dogs and try giving low or no-calorie treats – such as carrots, celery, watermelon, or cucumber!

Keep an eye out for signs that your dog is in pain

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and vary widely in personality. If you’ve got a very vocal, expressive dog, it may be very easy to tell that he’s uncomfortable. Other dogs are more the “strong, silent” types and will work to hide their discomfort. 

You may notice changes such as an aversion to longer walks, a reluctance to use stairs, or a disinterest in food or toys. An elderly dog with arthritis may not come running when called because getting up is quite painful. 

Sometimes the pain may be mistaken for disobedience – remember, most dogs love nothing more than to please you. If Fido isn’t willing, he may be in pain.  

For arthritis pain and stiffness, many dog owners swear by supplements that contain glucosamine and other natural ingredients like CBD for pets that can help support joint health. 

CBD oil from hemp has been shown to help lower inflammation and ease the pain. Always check with your vet before starting any new supplements.

Keep your older dog as active as possible 

Helping to keep your dog as active as possible is key in preventing a loss in their mobility. If dogs (or people!) spend too much time being immobile, it can lead to a weakening in the muscles and joints, which means that when they do need to move, it’s much more difficult. 

How can you keep an older dog active – especially if they’re a touch on the lazy side? 

  • Break up the activity into smaller, more frequent intervals. 
  • Instead of having Fido slog through a 60-minute walk, do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening and supplement with other play.
  • If your dog is struggling with mobility, your vet may be able to suggest certain mobility aids such as slings and scooters or traction pads that can be applied to paws.

Be patient- remember your dog can’t communicate exactly what’s going on

Your elderly dog is going through a lot of mental and physiological changes. He or she may be slow to follow commands, may have the occasional accident in the house, and may not always feel like being around the family. 

Know that your dog doesn’t love you any less and they certainly aren’t being a “bad dog”– they’re just a bit more tired and need more rest.

Having a dog grow old is bittersweet, but it’s also an inevitable fact of life with a pet. By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure that this time together during your dog’s older years is truly is as happy, healthy, and lengthy as possible.

author avatar
Andrew Mattison

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