Preventive Care Best Practices Pet Parents Must Follow for Senior Dogs Senior dogs need special preventive care from their dog parents to stay healthy even as they reach old age

Preventive Care Best Practices Pet Parents Must Follow for Senior Dogs

As they grow old, dogs require specialized care and attention for enjoying good health and well-being. The responsibility to provide such care falls on the dog parents who must stick to certain practices when caring for their aging dogs.

As our cherished canine companions grow older, they need special care and attention to keep them healthy and happy. Just like elderly humans, senior dogs are more prone to various health issues that can affect how they feel and live their lives.

As per an article reviewed by licensed veterinary professional Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS, senior dogs have to deal with various health issues. These include everything from dental issues and back pain to deteriorating eyesight in old dogs. Hence, preventive care is crucial to ensure that aging dogs live comfortably and happily. 

In this article, we outline a few essential preventive care practices that pet parents must follow to keep their senior dogs in optimal health.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

As recommended by Aylif Atkinson, a pet health advisor, older dogs should visit the veterinarian at least twice a year for comprehensive exams. These check-ups allow for early detection of your dog’s health issues that are more common in senior dogs, like arthritis, dental disease, kidney problems, etc. 

A dog considered old needs expert care from licensed professionals. During these visits, the vet can perform blood tests, urine analyses, and other diagnostic procedures to monitor the dog's overall health. In doing so, the vet can catch any potential issues early on.

An aging dog can also suffer from hearing loss. Besides, when a dog ages, it tends to gain weight. Hence, you need to keep your senior or aging dog healthy making sure it’s not getting obese

Appropriate Nutrition

As dogs age, you’ll find that they develop changes in their nutritional needs. For senior dogs, these changes are more visible as they start needing a more balanced diet for their slower metabolism and reduced activity levels. 

Thus, you need to feed them high-quality, easily digestible food that is lower in calories to prevent them from gaining weight. 

As your dog gets older, keeping an eye on their weight becomes especially important. Carrying extra pounds can make health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and joint pain even worse for them. To help your senior dog stay healthy, give them supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for their joints, and omega-3 fatty acids to help with inflammation.

For a tasty yet nutritional older dog food, opt for the Eukanuba Senior Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food. This older dog formula contains real lamb protein to support strong, lean muscles. It also has a rich blend of antioxidants to support a strong immune system. 

For a more scientifically planned diet, you might want to try Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. This senior dog food helps your older dog maintain a luxurious, healthy coat by providing a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Even though your senior dog might not be as energetic as they once were, regular exercise is still crucial for their overall well-being. 

Exercise helps keep their weight in check, supports joint mobility, and promotes heart health. It’s important to tailor the type and intensity of exercise to your aging dog’s abilities, opting for gentler activities like short walks or swimming. 

Through regular, moderate exercise, you can help prevent weight gain and alleviate joint issues, ensuring your senior dog stays active and engaged.

Dental Care

Dental health is often overlooked in senior dogs, yet it is a critical aspect of their overall well-being. 

Dental disease is common in older dogs and can lead to severe health problems, including infections that can spread to other organs. Regular brushing of your aging dog’s teeth, along with professional dental cleanings, can prevent plaque buildup and dental decay. 

To clean your dog’s teeth, you can use the C.E.T. Enzymatic toothpaste. This toothpaste fights both current and future plaque build-up, strengthens enamel, and whitens teeth.

If your senior dog is hesitant to let you brush its teeth, provide it with oral chews like the OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews for Dogs. These chews stand out as the sole veterinary dental product containing delmopinol, an ingredient that has been utilized for years in human oral rinse. The chews not only help fight plaque but also help your senior canine companion get rid of its bad breath. 

Ensuring good dental care can significantly improve an older dog's quality of life and prevent more severe health complications.

Managing Weight

Weight management is a crucial component of preventive care for senior dogs. As dogs age, their metabolism rates tend to slow down. They may also become less active, making them prone to gaining weight. 

Carrying extra weight can bring on a host of health issues for your older dog, like diabetes, heart conditions, and more joint pain. Therefore, it's crucial to keep tabs on their weight and tweak their diet and exercise plans accordingly.

Sometimes, your vet might recommend a special diet designed for weight management in older dogs. By monitoring their weight and making these changes, you can help your senior dog stay healthy and comfortable.

Maintaining an appropriate weight helps prevent additional stress on joints and vital organs.

Joint Health and Mobility

When a dog starts to age, it struggles with vision loss. There are various other age related conditions that these aging pups struggle with. Alongside sight loss, gum disease, and other medical conditions, old dogs struggle with joint problems too.  

Joint issues are a common problem in senior dogs, often resulting from conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia. These issues can cause significant discomfort and impact the dog's mobility. 

To manage joint pain and mobility issues, and support joint health, pet parents can provide their aging dogs with joint supplements. 

Dog joint supplements typically feature ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which help repair and maintain cartilage. They also contain anti-inflammatory elements such as MSM and omega-3 fatty acids to ease joint pain and inflammation.

Also, ensuring a comfortable living environment with orthopedic beds, non-slip flooring, and ramps can help older dogs move around more easily. 

Monitoring and Managing Chronic Conditions

Many dogs develop chronic health conditions as they age, including diabetes, kidney disease, and heart problems. Early detection and management of these conditions are vital to prolonging the life and quality of life of senior pets. 

Pet parents should be vigilant for signs of chronic conditions, such as increased thirst and urination (which may indicate diabetes or kidney disease), coughing or difficulty breathing (which could signal heart issues), and unexplained weight loss or gain.

Regular veterinary care and check-ups, blood work, and appropriate medications can help manage these conditions effectively.

Mental Stimulation and Enrichment

Mental health is just as important as physical health in senior dogs. Cognitive decline can occur as dogs age, leading to issues such as disorientation, anxiety, and changes in your pet’s behavior. 

For an old dog, being mentally active can be super challenging. Providing mental stimulation through interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and regular training sessions can help keep an aging dog's mind sharp. 

If you want to make your senior dog happy, make room for its social interaction with other pets and. Enrichment activities not only provide mental stimulation but also reduce stress and anxiety, contributing to a happier, healthier senior dog.

In summary, if you have a senior dog, know that caring for it will require a comprehensive approach that addresses their unique health needs. From regular veterinary check-ups to supporting their mental enrichment, everything is essential for ensuring preventive care for senior dogs. 

By following these practices, senior dog parents can ensure that their aging canine pals enjoy their senior years with as much comfort as possible. Through vigilant care and attention, senior dogs can continue to lead fulfilling lives well into their golden years. 

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