Generally speaking, most dogs are considered to be senior at the age of 7. This can vary somewhat based on breed, but when your dog becomes a senior their requirements for optimal health and well-being will begin to change. Not to worry, though. You can help Fido with his journey into senior citizenship by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
Arthritis Prevention and Care
As we age our joints lose much of their lubrication and the joints themselves begin to wear down. To help them stay mobile, we suggest the following: An orthopedic bed with memory foam to help support the joints and increase circulation; a healthy supplement such as Cosequin to help support a healthy inflammatory response; switching to a premium quality senior food with an increased amount of glucosamine and chondroitin and lower calories.
Now is the time to make sure that their teeth are free of plaque and tartar. Plaque can break free from the teeth and create organ damage if not taken care of. If the tartar is calcified it can only be fixed by scheduling a dental exam with your Veterinarian. Once the tartar is cleaned off you can maintain their new shiny teeth and fresh breath with a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste once a day or by adding a natural enzyme supplement to their water everyday.
Increase Water Consumption
Senior dogs need even more water than adult dogs to keep their kidneys at peak performance. Unfortunately, with less activity their urge to drink is not as strong. Adding canned food or a raw food topper to their breakfast or dinner can be a great way to add in extra water without the extra work on their part. It's also a good idea to add a little water directly to their kibble with each meal.
The best way to keep your dog feeling young and happy is to continue to take outings and exercise them every day. Keeping those joints moving will help to prevent stiffness and lameness. By exercising them everyday, you will be helping them to stay at an optimal weight which also prevents many of the issues that typically come with being a senior dog.
Engaging your dog's mind is just as important as exercising their legs. There are many different ways to boost their stimulation. Who’s to say that old dogs can’t learn new tricks? It will be a great bonding experience for the two of you to learn a new trick together and show it off to your friends and family. You can also utilize interactive, treat-dispensing toys to get their creativity flowing as they search for a way to get the treats out. Marrow bones filled with peanut butter or wet food and frozen can also provide great mental stimulation. Puzzle games are also a great boredom buster that is sure to please. Or sometimes, something as simple as playing fetch or a gentle game of tug of war is all that is needed to get their minds going.