Having a pet dog by your side for many years can be one of life’s most rewarding and fulfilling experiences particularly if you’ve got a chance to see that dog grow from a puppy. However, it’s important to realize that caring for a senior dog is different than caring for an adult dog. As your dog ages, there are some important things that you should learn and keep in mind to make sure you’re taking the best care of your dog possible — especially as they reach their 10th year. If you’ve never taken care of a senior dog before, check out the following information. These senior-specific dog characteristics can help you better understand what to expect as your dog ages, and how you can provide your older dog with the best life possible.
Vision May Be the First Thing to Go (Then Hearing)
Besides some gray hairs, the first thing you might notice changes in your dog is his vision. Often, dogs start to lose their eyesight, and they may do things they didn’t use to do before — like run into objects or take a long time finding toys you’ve thrown. If your dog’s eyesight seems to be declining too rapidly, take your dog to the vet. Eyesight loss can also be caused by conjunctivitis, cataracts and more. Your dog’s hearing may go next, and they may find it harder to hear things like their name or a whistle.
Old Dogs and New Tricks
There’s a reason the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is popular. That’s because it’s pretty much true. When dogs get to their senior years, they’re not interested in learning new things and sometimes they can’t even pick up new tricks or habits. For that reason, make an effort to keep the routine of a senior dog steady and predictable. This will lower stress for your older dog and ensure that life feels manageable and comfortable as they age.
Keep Watch for Signs of Bad Health
Many older dogs simply slow down because they have less energy and might be stiffer or in more pain. However, there are common diseases that arise in older dogs that can cause them to be sluggish, unresponsive and unhappy. These are things like congestive heart failure, kidney failure, arthritis and more. If you sense that your dog is unhappy or in pain, take him to the vet. Luckily, there are many treatments for these health conditions now, like Vetmedin for heart failure, so you can help improve your dog’s health and quality of life.
More Frequent Vet Visits
As your dog gets older, a yearly or bi-yearly vet visit is no longer frequent enough. Expect to go to the vet a couple of times per year so your vet can do a check up — even if your dog seems to be feeling fine. That way, you can catch and treat any health problems as they arise and before they get too serious.
As your dog grows older, make sure to pay attention to the way that his personality and body change. That way, you can make sure you’re taking the best care of his health possible. By being attentive to his body and needs, you can ensure that you and your dog get to enjoy each other’s company for many more years to come.
Listed below are some helpful resources referenced in the article that can provide some guidance for those looking for helpful information on pet supplies & medication: