Dogs reach middle age sometime between ages 6 and 7, depending on the size and the breed. As your dog becomes a senior citizen and his body begins to slow down, there are important changes to make in the way you care for him. Older dogs may develop geriatric problems the same way humans do. Happy Go Healthy discusses some tips for caring for older dogs to give them the best possible health, happiness, and well-being.
Vets recommend office visits every year for younger pups. When your dog reaches middle age, vets believe you should bring him in every six months. The idea here is to catch any signs of illness or geriatric problems in older dogs early so they can be treated right away. Older dogs may also require dental care and blood work as part of their semi-annual care regimen. Blood work may detect parasites and diseases not ordinarily seen in your dog’s outward appearance. Your vet may also recommend specific vaccines that are appropriate for your senior dog.
Metabolism naturally slows down in older dogs. Therefore, you should watch your dog’s weight and diet. Dog food manufacturers typically create food formulated for senior dogs that have higher levels of protein and lower calories. Consider adding a mess-free supplement to your dog’s kibble as a way to improve his nutrition with EPA and DHA from omega-3 fatty acids, pre-biotic fiber for better digestion, and seaweed-derived calcium for better bones.
Older dogs still need regular exercise to maintain their activity levels. Your senior dog may move a little slower in their advanced years. You may not be able to jog with your dog when he’s older or take him for long walks. However, an appropriate amount of exercise in the morning, afternoon, and evening works well as you try to maintain your dog’s weight.
Groom your dog regularly as you always do, especially if you have a long-haired breed. Grooming does a few things. First, it keeps your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. Grooming also lets you identify any fleas, ticks, skin issues, dryness or redness. Brushing the coat of older dogs also helps them feel calm and relaxed.