When we first buy a puppy, not many of us look too far into the future – the years seem to rush by and we share lots of memorable moments, holidays, long walks etc.
Then the day comes when we notice our dog isn’t quite as quick as he or she used to be. More content with laying on the sofa watching TV with the family than out walking in the cold. For some breeds this happens sooner than others and life expectancy does not even reach double figures, whilst other breeds can reach the ripe old age of 18.
By preparing for old age in our dogs, we can insure that their last years are an enjoyable time for us all. Always be aware of your dog’s daily routine, as small changes such as refusing to eat and becoming distant and vague may be a sign that all is not well. If in doubt, speak to a vet.
Keep moving – shorter and slower walks should be your aim, still make your walk(s) interesting, with plenty of opportunity to sniff and socialise but at a different pace. Stop and sit for a while. Try to dissuade your old dog from getting wet, as old bones feel the cold. Carry a towel so that you can give him/her a quick rub down if they were to get wet.
Keep to daily routines for meals and bed times. Your older dog’s digestive system will expect food at certain times and he or she will need to empty their bowels at the same time each day. Eye sight fades, so try not to move furniture and leave a small night light on.
Review your dog’s diet – they may no longer require the size meals they once did. There are specific food products for older dogs, as they don’t need such a high protein content in their diet. Your dog’s teeth might not be up to crunching on large lumps, so a ‘small bite’ variety with a little stock may make meal times easier.
Keep to a regular grooming routine so that you will be able to keep an eye on any lumps and bumps. Not all lumps are cancerous and a small bump doesn’t mean your dog’s life is drawing to an end. Older dogs might have problems going to the toilet – being slower or not so on the ball can result in small accidents. Be prepared with wet wipes, washable rugs and an easy to clean floor.
Eventually there will come a time when you know your dog won’t be around for much longer but as long as you have taken steps to ensure their life is as comfortable as possible, you can enjoy the last days together.
If you wish to discuss any of my articles, please do not hesitate to call me on 07869 736171.