senior dog

Enjoying Life with an Aging Dog

An aging dog – time to repay their loyalty

Much as we might wish it were otherwise, our beloved aging dog — who was only a pup just the other day, it seems — is going to hit her golden years sooner than we expect. Although we tend not to think of dogs as old until the signs become extremely obvious, we should be aware that, depending on the breed, your dog may be considered a senior citizen of the canine world from about the age of 7 and on. Smaller dogs tend to be longer lived and may not reach seniorhood until after the age of 10. Still, there is going to come a time when such items as orthopedic dog beds and even doggy diapers may be added to our shopping list.

aging dog

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A Few Signs

The aging process for people and dogs is not really all that different. The issue is that we humans might not be as skillful at spotting the signs in other species. Dogs tend to get grayer and slower as they age. Hearing and vision might be significantly reduced. Arthritis is extremely common in aging dogs. Dogs are also not immune to dementia and may eventually exhibit much of the same confusion, incontinence, inappropriate behavior, and the rest of the symptoms that you may see in your own parents if they develop Alzheimer’s or another form of cognitive impairment.

What To Do

Again, dogs and people are not so different and what you do for your dogs as they age is not so different from what you should do for your parent as they age — though the dogs are likely to be a lot more cooperative. That’s especially true when it comes to exercise.

Unlike a lot of older people, most dogs love nothing more than to go outside and run around with us. While they will inevitably get less active as they age, encouraging most dogs to get more exercise is demonstrably easier than encouraging most of us sedentary humans to do so.

Also, watch your dog’s caloric intake. A fat dog isn’t better off than a fat person in regards to all kinds of health risks. As far as dieting is concerned, however, your dog has it easier than you because she can’t open the refrigerator. Your dog isn’t getting any food that you aren’t giving her.

There are also both drugs and supplements that can reduce and may even help prevent the onset of arthritis, including products containing glucosamine. Of course, you want to consult with your veterinarian about all the options that are available to help your aging dog feel as good as possible in regards to joint health, including orthopedic dog beds.

Finally, we probably don’t have to say this, but your dog also needs even more affection as she ages. Most of us have no problem lavishing love on our dog — indeed, this is sadly more of an issue with elderly people than with aging pets — but, as they age, it’s important we play with them and generally make sure they feel included and not “put out to pasture.”

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The Changes You Have To Made For Your Senior Dog’s Diet

Dogs can be considered old when they reach 7 years old and there are a lot of changes that occur within their system that may have an impact to their daily nutritional needs. A responsible approach to geriatric nutrition is to realize that degenerative changes are a normal part of aging. Our aim is to lessen the probability of the dog incurring health problems by preventing this while the dog is still healthy. If we wait until an elderly dog is ill before we change the diet, we have a much harder job.

Dog Health Food

  As pets grows old, their metabolism slows and this must be accounted for. If maintenance rations are fed in the same amounts while metabolism is slowing, weight gain may result. The last thing that we want to happen to our dogs is to become obese because with obesity comes many health problems and diseases. As pets age, most of their organs function in a slower pace and this is a lot different when they are still young. The digestive system, the liver, pancreas and gallbladder are not functioning at peak effect. The intestines are finding it hard to absorb all the nutrients from the food they are etaing. A gradual decline in kidney function is considered a normal part of aging.

Like our own grandparents, we need to take care of our old canine pets with special considerations. While some benefit from the nutrition found in “senior” diets, others might do better on the highly digestible puppy and super-premium diets. These latter diets provides an excellent blend of digestibility and amino acid content but, unfortunately, many are higher in salt and phosphorus than the older pet really needs.

 Older dogs are also more prone to developing arthritis and therefore it is important not to over feed them since obesity puts added stress on the joints. For animals with joint pain, supplementing the diet with fatty acid combinations containing cis-linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid can be quite beneficial.

Ingredients Dog Food

It is important to keep in mind that dietary choices can affect the development of orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis. When feeding a puppy who is at risk – shun away from high caloric diets and try to feed them several times a day rather than allowing them to devour a bulky meal all at the same time. Sudden growth spurts are to be avoided because they result in joint instability. Recent research has also suggested that the electrolyte balance of the diet may also play a role in the development of hip dysplasia. Rations between the positively and negatively charged elements in the diet (e.g., sodium, potassium, chloride) were less likely to promote hip dysplasia in susceptible dogs. Also avoid supplements of calcium levels in the body are carefully regulated by hormones (such as calcitonin and parathormone) as well as vitamin D. Supplementation disturbs this normal regulation and can cause many problems. It has also been shown that calcium supplementation can interfere with the absorption of zinc from the intestines. If you really feel the need to supplement your dog, select products such as eicosapentaenoic/gamma-linolenic fatty acid combinations or small amount of vitamin C.

Dog Health Food

In knowing the changes of your old canine, you can take an active part too. Home made dog foods are always better than commercial ones. Find some recipes that will match the needs of your old dog. Food modification is easier by first knowing what should be in the dog food and second preparing them on your own to make sure that your dog receives the best.

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