Caring for a senior dog
August 24, 2017
Thanks to better dietary options and veterinary care, dogs are now living longer and more fulfilling lives. However, dogs are now facing some age-related health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and gastrointestinal issues. Therefore, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with how best to look after your dog in its older years.
Choose the right diet
A diet that supports the needs of your ageing dog is essential to keeping them healthy and feeling good. Older dogs won’t require the same amount of calories in their meal as a younger dog that needs to maintain high energy levels. If an older dog is fed a high calorie diet it may lead to weight gain, as many older dogs are less active and have a much slower metabolic rate. Our Senior Large Diets also contain optimal levels of fibre and prebiotics to help assist their digestion. Many older dogs may suffer from constipation and other gastrointestinal issues, so feeding them a diet with added fibre and prebiotics can help keep them regular.
Lots of senior dogs may also lose their appetite. This can be due to their fading sense of smell and taste. If this seems to be the case, mixing in some wet food to their usual meal can help tempt them due to the enticing aromas that wet food gives off. If they are still not eating, another issue may be to blame, so a trip to the vet is a good idea to rule out anything of concern.
Support their dental health
Dogs of all ages can suffer from dental problems but dental issues are even more common in older dogs. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gum infections, and it can be painful for your dog to eat at mealtimes. All Eukanuba™ Senior Diets use an S-shaped kibble that helps scrape away plaque deposits on your dog’s teeth as they chew. Our kibble is also coated in sodium polyphosphates that binds calcium in your dog’s saliva to stop tartar formation. Dental issues can also have the potential to lead to bigger problems, as many more serious concerns such as kidney disease can first present themselves as dental infections. If you’re finding your dog is struggling to chew or their breath is foul smelling, a trip to the vet should be your first point of call to rule out anything serious.
Don’t skimp on the exercise
Even though older dogs may lack energy, exercising is important to keep them in shape. Exercise also helps maintain your dog’s muscle tone and joint health. As arthritis is a common issue for older dogs, making sure they’re getting a solid workout is a good way to help stop their joints from further deteriorating. But it’s important to not overdo exercise, as your older dog doesn’t have the same energy levels as it once did. Be sure to choose a comfortable walking pace for your dog and take them for gentle walks that aren’t too strenuous.
The day will come when your dog starts to show signs of ageing. Making sure you give your dog that little extra support to prevent any age-related health issues is important. Maintaining regular exercise and introducing a diet best suited to their life stage can keep your dog living well in their late teens.