The present Covid-19 lockdown is both happy and challenging for your senior dogs. They are happy because you are always at home. But staying indoors at all times can be worrisome for them too, especially when they can’t do their favorite activities. They might start to show signs of distress and depression as well.
Taking care of your senior dog might be slightly more challenging during these times. Senior dogs have a different set of care requirements than adult dogs or puppies. As dogs get aged, their mobility might get restricted, or they might suffer a loss of hearing and sight. Their energy levels go down and stand a higher risk of organ disorders.
Not every kind of dog ages the same way. Smaller dogs get old when they are about 11 years old. Medium-sized breeds like Labradors are considered seniors when they are about 10 or 11 years old while giant breeds get old at around 6 or 7. Every dog ages differently so you need to check for yourself when your dog becomes a senior. Genetics, food, and lifestyle choices affect a dog’s senior years a lot. Your dog might not show any signs of aging even after reaching a certain age. Regular body checks are important to determine your dog’s aging.
Here’s what you need to do differently to take proper care of your senior dogs.
You will need to feed your senior dog a different diet altogether. They need a balanced diet now more than ever. Older dogs have a higher chance of getting obese as they can’t be as active as they once were. Carefully monitor your dog’s nutritional intake. Control on their fat and calorie intake is important. Look for dog foods that are meant for senior dogs as they provide the correct amount of nutrition along with the essential Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Tuffies Pet Nutrisource dog food for senior dogs is one of the best choices you can get. You must also consult your vet if your dog needs a special diet.
Dog walks are difficult right now if you don’t have a personal outdoor space. But it is essential to maintain your dog’s weight. Overweight dogs are prone to diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, infections, and even cancer.
Exercising your senior dogs not only keeps them leaner but also keeps their limbs and joints in a better condition. Look for exercises for them indoors, hopefully without damaging your home. In case your dog is not used to exercising indoors, start low, and increase the intensity gradually. Old dogs can pick up new tricks too, so you can teach them a few. But do not overwork them. They might not want to stop when they are having fun, so you would have to judge that. Make sure you monitor their body weight regularly.
Vet and Vaccines
Although most veterinary practices are open, going to them frequently might be a challenge. You will need to make an appointment like you normally would. Usually, your pet is taken from you in their parking area and returned there once the treatment is complete. The veterinarian will get in touch with you regarding your pet’s treatment.
Make sure you stock up on your dog’s medical supplies. Even though senior dogs need fewer vaccines, Check the calendar for upcoming vaccinations and store them beforehand. Make sure you have emergency supplies for them like ticks, fleas, and worm preventive medication. When you visit the vet, ask for some extra tips for home care for your dog such as routine body checks.
The silver lining for pet owners during these times is that both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO have concurred that pets cannot be infected or become carriers. However, if you are sick, it is best to have somebody else take care of your pet for the time being. In case there is no other option, keep your interactions limited to the basic activities.
Regular grooming for senior dogs is extremely important. As dogs get older, their coat loses shine and their skin can get dry and irritating. It might get worse if you do not care for it regularly. Brush your dog’s hair to avoid getting any tangles. Use proper shampoos to keep their skin healthy. A bit of pampering will help them be happy and relaxed.
Your dog may develop old age issues such as arthritis or an organ-related disease. Their energy levels are lower and they get tired easily. Sometimes they have difficulty finding a position to sleep comfortably. There are a few things you can do to ensure your dog’s comfort in the senior years.
- Help them avoid the stairs or get them a dog ramp.
- Maintain oral hygiene. If you cannot brush their teeth regularly, give them dental toys.
- If your dog has arthritis, make softer bedding for them.
- Carpets and rugs can help them with better footing.
- In the case of blind dogs, do not rearrange the house.
Spend More Time
Even though aging is quite normal, getting used to it can be emotionally challenging for you and your dog. At times like these, living in the moment is the best option for both of you. Engage them with activities like watching Dog TV or solving food puzzles.
Your presence helps them with their anxiety issues. Even if they can’t see or hear you, they can feel your presence and attention. It also helps them get used to their physical shortcomings. Make sure they love their time with you till their last breath.