It might feel like your best friend came into your life just a while back. Unbelievable as it may sound to pet parents, they might be raising a middle-aged dog whose needs have changed since it was a pup.
Watch for signs
It is also tougher to detect ageing in dogs as not all dogs can exhibit fur graying. Dog ageing is shocking to many as signs of senescence set in even as they are growing. Larger dogs age faster than the smaller and medium sized breeds. Each breed has a unique rate of ageing, while some age slowly, dogs like the St Bernard age rapidly once the first signs of age sets in, leaving less time for pet owners to note, notice and prepare for it.
Pet parents should spend enough time in looking for signs of ageing and act accordingly. Older dogs tend to forget their training or get excited less often. If your pet is grumpier more often, facing a lot more health problems, and is not as active, it’s time to start investigation. Do not ignore changes in sleeping and eating patterns either. Once it is detected, it’s time to change the principles of care, drastically.
Like in humans, ageing brings a multitude of health problems. Pet parents must visit the vet more often. Arthritis is common in older dogs. If your pet is refusing to climb stairs or is walking slower than usual, and tends to sleep more, its joints might be swelling. Pet parents should also watch for signs for irritability, infections, slow healing of wounds and frequent urination as it could be diabetes.
Glaucoma and cataract too are common but it is tough to notice vision failure as dogs tend to rely heavily on smell and touch. Pet parents should play games to test their visual capabilities. To fight any dental problems that they may develop, keep cleaning them and their teeth often. Cancers, kidney failures and even dementia too are common in older dogs.
A healthier diet
Ageing can be warded off or slowed with a good diet enriched with Beta-carotene and Vitamin E. Nutritional supplements are available in the market and can be fed with advice from the vet. They can help improve immunity in the pet and ensure that its fur and skin remains healthy.
Pet parents should remember that their dog’s digestive system is not active as it was earlier. Give them lighter and softer food, which is easy to chew. Older dogs tend to become constipated more often, so their diet should now contain fiber, fruit and vegetables. Canned vegetables and fruit options are also available in the market. Do not stick to eating schedules as older dogs tend to be erratic. Feed them when they want to. Be flexible enough to indulge them.
More and more love
It is no secret that older dogs want more affection, love and attention than they ever did. Keep hugging them and spend more time with them. Give them squishier and softer toys, make a fluffier bed and talk to them if they enjoy it. Do not ignore exercise and keep walking them, they can use the recreation.
We are a bunch of hardcore news junkies who also happen to be pet parents. Our world revolves around our kids and that’s how we know!