We all get older, and so are our beloved dogs. As their parents we should be able to recognize the signs of aging, pain or health issues, and treat them the best we can. Some pet owners don’t know or don’t want to care for older dogs’ so they give them to a shelter. These dogs (and cats) usually don’t find home to spend their golden years in, and they are euthanized. Since they live longer than ever, because of medicine advances for pets (and human), the chances of illnesses in senior dogs are bigger, and so are at least relief if not complete cure.
The signs for aging dog are varied and are not the same with all. In general they are not as active as before and the energy levels decrease, difficulty rising out of bed, the stairs may become an issue, they are not interested in their toys, they have pain, they rather stay home then go for a walk, they may have “accidents” at home, and other health issues.
How old is old and life expectancy is a question that from my research has many answers. In Wikipedia ”
The aging profile of dogs varies according to their adult size (often determined by their breed): smaller dogs often live over 15–16 years, medium and large size dogs typically 10 to 13 years, and some giant dog breeds such as mastiffs, often only 7 to 8 years. The latter also matures slightly older than smaller breeds—giant breeds becoming an adult around two years old compared to the norm of around 12–15 months for other breeds.”
The most important thing to do with aging pet is visiting the vet on a regular basis. You do not need to go crazy with costly tests, etc. Talk to your vet about his condition. What are the recommendation regarding treatment (if any), food type, exercise and how often you should see the vet.
For in home help, first – give him lots of love!!! Then, you may consider an orthopedic bed, especially for dog with joint problems and arthritis. You can put a chair as a step, or a ramp, so he can climb into your bed (or any other high place), if it’s a place he use to be on. Keep his weight balanced by giving him senior dog food and if he is not as active as before, be careful with the treats as they have a lot of fat. For high dog, you can use a food feeder that suit his height so he does not need to bend for the food. In addition, let him out more often for his basic needs. If long walks are too hard for him go on short walks, more times a day. Use the “bottom-up” leash or harness for arthritic or disabled dog when walking him. It is very important for dogs to move around and not stay in one place for hours. Lack of movement can make pain and stiffness from arthritis worse.
For senior dogs helpful products visit our senior dog page