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[Guest Post] When Our Dogs Slow Down: Understanding the Needs of Your Senior Pet

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Liz of Wet Nose Guide. This is a topic I’m interested in since I’ve realized – all of a sudden – that Emmett has become a senior. More on that later. For now, advice from Liz!

Photo credit: flickr by B@Bé

As a dog owner, it took me quite some time to accept what my pup was inadvertently telling me. When his naps increased in length, I attributed it to his lazy demeanor – after all, he may be the most well rested Golden Retriever on the planet. If he took longer to rise to his feet, I figured he wasn’t thrilled about going for a walk in the summertime humidity. And, when his muzzle turned lighter than ever, I thought it was sun kissed. He was lucky enough to get those natural highlights from the sun that I always craved.

However, when others began to note his “white face,” and his tendency to tire more quickly during a romp around the backyard, I realized that my boy, the one who’s been my number-one companion for ten years, suddenly surpassed adulthood and entered his seniors. Although he’ll always be the tiny, quirky, active puppy to me, I realized that he needed special attention and care. Through some research and after some one-on-one experimentation, I found the following everyday activities keep my dog healthy, happy and leaves just enough room for his nap schedule.

Adjust your activity regimen

Daily walks are a necessary part of every dog’s life, no matter how old he is. They keep a dog’s weight manageable and help build muscle mass. However, as your dog ages the frequency and intensity of his physical activity may need adjusting. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior on walks. Notice when he tires. Often, older pups don’t need to burn off as much energy as required in their earlier years. Shorter and more frequent walks fulfill his activity requirements.

Alter your dog’s nutritional requirements

With advancements in homeopathic medicine, many natural products are available to treat common ailments aging pets experience. One of the most common conditions senior dogs develop is arthritis, which is often treated with natural remedies such as Glucosamine, Vitamin C or Chondroitin Sulfate. To get a better understanding of what supplements would be of benefit to your dog, visit your local veterinarian who can give you professional advice for diet and nutrition.

Provide comfort

Maturing pups need special products to help ease the amount of pressure put on their joints. Special orthopedic dog beds are easier for dogs to get out of in order to prep for their morning walks, while elevated dog feeders eliminate the need to bend down to enjoy breakfast. These products alleviate any unnecessary stress put on his body.

Shower him with love

Love and attention is almost as important (if not more) to a dog’s health as are frequent veterinarian appointments.  Life can be unpredictable and hectic, however that shouldn’t impact your bonding time. Schedule at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted solo time with your dog, and spoil him. Visit a park, treat him to a new toy, or throw the ball around. And remember, no matter how much gray he grows, he’ll always be that energetic and spunky puppy in your eyes.

Liz Demcsak is a writer from Wet Nose Guide, a nationwide dog care directory for owners on the go. When you’re on the road, let Wet Nose Guide help you find everything from dog vets to dog runs to make your pup feel right at home wherever life may bring you.

4 Comments

  1. This is a great post, and so timely as our dogs are preparing to become Elderbulls. I have noticed them slowing down quite a bit, and it was a great reminder about preparing for the joints and potential arthritis. Our Mr. B still loves skateboarding around with E.

    Reply
    1. I’ve only recently started to notice Emmett slowing down. It’s been creeping up on me, so I’ve sort of been in denial I think! He’s 8 now, though, so I’m looking for tons of info to help keep him happy and healthy into old age!

      Reply
  2. I also have a senior Saint Bernard and he’s slowed down quite a bit. Now unfortunately I’m not home all day long to stay with him and I’d like to buy some accessories suited for senior dogs but unfortunately I’m out of ideas. Could you please recommend a few? Both for playing and for grooming.

    Reply

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