If you have a dog that is over five to ten years old, you may not realize that technically you are caring for an elderly dog now. However, this is the case. Dogs reach old age must faster than humans, and as they age, some of their care needs will change with them. To be sure you are taking the best possible care of your elderly dog, get to know a few elderly dog care tips to help you out.
Switch to a Senior Dog Food Formula
One of the things that will change as your dog gets older is their nutritional needs. They will not be as active in old age as they were as a young pup, for example. Because of this, they will need a food formula that is lower in calories than standard dog foods. Older dogs also need more fiber in their diet to aid in digestion, as well as proper amounts of protein and other vital nutrients.
You do not have to start making your dog's food, though. There are specially designed senior dog food formulas available in most brands of food. Choose one of the high-quality food brands at the store to switch your dog to.
When you switch your dog over to their new senior dog food, be sure to do so gradually. If you feed your dog a cup of food at each meal, start with one-quarter cup of the new food and three-quarters of the old food. Then, in a few days go half and half. Several days after that, you can switch entirely to the new food. This will help you avoid problems with stomach upset.
Go to the Vet Regularly
While you may currently be on a schedule of annual visits to the veterinarian, this may not be enough for a senior dog. Generally, it is recommended that you take a senior dog to the vet at least every six months (if not more frequently).
This is because their health can deteriorate quickly and the veterinarian needs to see them to act and treat conditions accordingly. Just like with humans, a dog's immune system isn't as strong when they are older. They can get sick from this or otherwise develop chronic diseases, have physical aches and pains that need to be dealt with, and the like.
Routine veterinary visits for senior dogs should always include physical and dental exams as well as a routine blood panel to check on their overall health and well-being. That way, illnesses and other issues will be detected early on and can be treated. This can help your dog to be happier and more comfortable as well as to live a longer life.
Elderly dog care does not have to be difficult. Follow these tips and you can rest assured that you are taking steps to keep your dog as healthy and happy as possible in their old age.