Aging is a normal part of life, including dogs. Last week we shared about caring tips for puppies but it is important to know that senior dogs have different care requirements than young puppies. Different dogs age at different ranges for different breeds and sizes of dogs. In most cases, dogs can be considered senior between 5 to 10 years old. You can pay attention to signs of aging for senior dogs, such as eating patterns and weight, sleeping patterns and cognitive health, drinking patterns and urination.
Same as humans, dogs will face changes in metabolic rate cause fewer calories burned and more to be stored as fat. Olders dogs have a higher risk of obesity because they no longer have the mobility and energy to exercise like before. Old dogs will benefit from eating healthier food with less fat and calories. Protein helps maintain muscle. Senior diets should have increased protein to calorie ratio to help maintain the muscle tissue and energy metabolism. Provide enough fiber to your dogs but not every old dog needs to lose weight, adjust levels of fiber according to your dogs health level. Maintain hydration level. Senior dogs are more prone to dehydration due to kidney disease, or other medications. They tend to urinate more frequently or do not feel like drinking water. Make sure to keep the water fresh and cool, that will motivate a dog to drink more.
Progressive degenerative disease is common to be the cause of loss of lubrication and wearing away of cartilage in the shoulders, hips and leg joints in old dogs. Although there is no cure, there are a number of treatments that can reduce pain and slower the progression of degenerative disease in dogs. Nutrition plays a strong role in reducing joint problems in old dogs. Maintain appropriate level of exercise activity, avoid excessive jumping and running activities to help maintain joint health.
Maintain Eye Health
Common eye problems happen in old dogs, including cataracts, glaucoma and nuclear sclerosis. These are often age-related degenerative conditions. Some other eye diseases are a result of systemic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers. Besides feeding a balanced diet, make sure to trim hair around the old dog's eyes short enough to keep it from irritating the eyes.
Dental disease will start to appear in older dogs and it can potentially affect a dog's major organs. Poor dental health will lead to infection that causes other diseases. Notice for signs of oral, the most obvious sign is bad breath. It indicates that bacteria is accumulating in the mouth. It is recommended to brush the dog's teeth at least once a week. 1-2 minutes once a week help decrease the amount of plaque and tartar from building up. Dental chew is another option and particularly useful for dogs that refuse to brush teeth.
If a trained dog suddenly starts to urinate indoors, it is one of the signs that he is facing aging problems. Old dogs urethral muscles and body systems are not as strong as they used to be. It is ideal to give them panties or a belly band to wear to maintain hygiene of your house. However, be aware of other underlying causes of incontinence in dogs. Signs associated with urinary incontinence may include drinking excessively, free flowing or halting urine, blood in the urine, pain, dribbling while moving around, leakage when settled in bed, and urinating in large amounts. “Each of these could signal a different cause and require a different treatment,” according to PetMD.