6 Tips on Caring for Older Dogs in Amesbury, MA
If you have an older dog, you are probably already aware that her health and wellbeing needs have change during this stage of her life. Senior and aging dogs require different care than younger dogs and puppies, and as a responsible pet owner, it’s important for you to keep up with these needs as well as you can.
Below, we’ve outlined six tips to help you learn more about how to take care of your dog as she gets older. Read through this information to find out more.
Take Your Older Dog to the Vet
The best thing you can do for your dog at any stage of her life is to make sure you keep up with her regular vet visits. Regular checkups can help monitor known conditions or pinpoint problems before they become severe issues. Additionally, vet visits can help your dog stay current with her vaccinations.
As your dog becomes a senior, she will need vet visits to continue. These visits can help determine which signs of aging may become an issue for her and what, if anything, you can do to help her deal with those.
Choose a Senior Dog Food
Your dog needs to eat a healthy amount of food every day to maintain a good weight for her breed and age. She will need a high-quality senior dog food to help make this happen. Some dogs may need a diet higher in caloric content to help them put on weight, while others may need carb-balanced diets or those low in sodium to lose weight or manage heart disease.
Some dogs may also need fatty acid supplements as part of their diet. This can help soothe sore joints and prevent severe pain related to arthritis as your dog ages.
Dog Teeth Cleaning for Older Dogs in Amesbury, MA
You should keep up with your dog’s teeth cleaning routine throughout her senior years as well. This includes brushing her teeth at home on a regular basis. Frequent dental care can prevent your dog from developing heart disease related to the buildup of plaque on her teeth, which can improve her older years significantly.
Some dogs with heart disease are not good candidates for teeth cleaning since they cannot be anesthetized safely. If this is true of your dog, you will need to work hard to maintain the health and hygiene of her teeth on your own at home.
Don’t Skip Exercise
As dogs get older, they become less interested in playing and exercising than they were when they were puppies. This is natural, just like it is for aging humans. However, your dog will need to keep up with some form of exercise to help maintain her health and wellness in her senior years.
You don’t have to push your dog to do too much if she doesn’t feel like being active. Simply throwing a ball for her a few times in the backyard or taking a short walk around the block might be enough to keep her joints moving more comfortably and ensure she maintains a healthy weight, too. Your vet can give you more specific information on the exercise your dog needs at this stage.
Enrichment Toys for Older Dogs in Amesbury, MA
Just because she is getting older, that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t want to play with toys anymore! Give her senior-friendly dog toys that are easier on the teeth and don’t require quite as much movement as toys for younger dogs might.
Senior dogs may enjoy chew toys, puzzle treat toys, and tugging toys depending on their physical abilities. Keep your dog enriched and she will feel more like her old self for longer.
Pay Attention to Potential Special Needs Arising
Finally, older dogs begin to develop more special needs than they might have had in their younger years.
For example, your dog may develop cataracts, which can cause her vision to be severely limited. She may also lose her hearing over time. Both of these situations can be scary for some dogs, while others manage well with no sign of slowing down.
Additionally, many older dogs develop arthritis, which can severely limit their mobility. You may want to upgrade your dog to an orthopedic dog bed to help ease her stiff joints. Speak to your veterinarian for more help in managing your dog’s special needs related to aging.
Talk to Your Vet in Amesbury, MA
There are many factors to consider in your dog’s life as she gets older. Just like humans, dogs can develop health problems and may have a harder time finding a good quality of life as they age. However, with your help, your dog will be able to age well and can enjoy many healthy, happy years as a senior as well. When you follow the tips listed above and talk with your vet at Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital, you can help her every step of the way.
Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital had humble beginnings in 1968. Dr. Walter Brown opened the animal hospital in a garage next to his home near the current hospital and operated out of this small space until the current building was built in 1969.