We Do It For the Dogs…
As your dog ages, things change. Are you ready?
Photo by Jack Plant on Unsplash
None of us like to think about our dogs getting old. Sadly, the reality is, it will happen. The best way to handle this is to prepare. Here are a few tips that will help get you through.
When your dog gets to be about 6-7 years old, you will likely begin to see them slowing a bit. Not an extreme amount, but slightly. Unfortunately, over time it will get worse. You will notice that after a really long outing or play, your aging pup will want to sleep more. This is normal. They just need more time to recover.
This is the same age that you may see your dog getting injured after an aggressive game of chasing the ball. With dogs, as with people their joints are beginning to show wear aka arthritis. This discomfort should quickly pass. Another contributor to pain is pulled or strained muscles. This usually shows up in the form of a limp. If any of these symptoms persist, please see your vet.
The number one thing you will start to see as your dog ages is weight gain. Your pup is getting older, and their metabolism is slowing. Do your best to get ahead of this. Even if you don’t have a scale, use the shape of your dog to judge. Your pup should have a waist. We call it a hip tuck. If you see your pup is gaining wait, consider first reducing the amount or type of food given. Make sure you are feeding the manufacturer’s recommendation. There are several good adult/senior dog foods on the market that will help with this. A lot of times too many treats are the cause of senior dog weight gain. If your dog is gaining weight, completely remove treats from the diet.
Lastly, let’s talk about exercise. At the age of 3 your dog may have been able to run 5 miles a day with you, but as the dog ages they will not be able to go as far or hard. Even though their body will be telling them to stop, their wantonness to please you will make them push too hard. This usually results in injury. Just be aware and observant. If you are, you’ll know when it’s time to cut back on time and intensity. However, whatever you do, don’t cut out exercise completely. Regular exercise will help your dog live a fuller, longer, healthier life!