Seeing our older dogs enter their golden years is bittersweet. As they enter their senior stage of life, we want to help them stay happy and healthy for as long as possible. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dogs 6-7 years of age and older are considered senior dogs.
Here are a few tips to keep your senior dog's health in check:
- Veterinary support: Increasing your dog’s veterinary care schedule to twice-yearly can help stay on top of any evolving issues. Senior pet exams are typically more in depth to check for any quickly developing diseases, dental care, possible blood work, and any other issues commonly related to older pets. This helps to detect issues early and treat them accordingly.
- Maintaining their mobility: Keeping their joints happy and healthy is important. Keep them active, but don’t overdo it. Creating a consistent age-appropriate exercise routine can be helpful to keep them mobile. Senior pets are more prone to developing arthritis, so staying in touch with your veterinarian about their joint health is key. Research has shown joint support ingredients can play a role in preventing osteoarthritis, consider our VetCS joint chewable tablets as a helpful additive in their everyday wellness routine.
- Nutrition and Diet: Senior dogs may have different caloric intake needs or need foods that are more easily digested. Keeping their weight under control may decrease the risk of additional health problems. Talk with your veterinarian about their suggested nutritional plan.
- Parasite control and vaccinations: Older dogs can’t always fight off diseases as easily as they once could, due to a naturally lowered immune system. This may also change their vaccination protocol, so it would be a good idea to talk with your veterinarian about their vaccine program.
- Environmental considerations: Sometimes we may need to help them adapt to certain areas of the house. If they have mobility issues, stairs can be strenuous to climb or even dangerous if they were to fall. Avoiding the stairs as much as possible, or assisting your dog up stairs can be helpful. Hardwood floors can sometimes be slippery, so adding a few extra mats or rugs can help them to not slip when they walk. An extra cozy orthopedic dog bed can also give their bodies some relief while they rest.
- Keep their mind sharp: Keeping them mentally active is so helpful to stimulate their minds. Some senior dogs may suffer from cognitive dysfunction, so dog friendly brain games are always fun. Hide treats around the house or in the yard and let them sniff them out. Enrichment toys are a great way to keep their minds busy and sharp. Adding our VetCS peanut butter to a KONG or LickiMat is a tasty and fun activity for them.
- Lots and lots of love: Time with you is what they love the most. Even just cuddling with you on the couch makes their hearts happy. Soak in every moment and enjoy your special time together!