Caring For An Older dog

 

This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Mikkie Mills

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5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy as It Ages

As your dog gets older, you want to do everything possible to help him or her to continue enjoying a great quality of life. While you can’t turn back the hands of time and restore your dog’s physical health to how it was when he or she was a puppy, there’s a lot that you can do to ensure optimal health and give your furry family members lots of love and joy in their golden years. Here are five things that you can do for your senior dog’s health and happiness.

1. Help Your Dog Stay Mobile

Moderate physical activity is essential to good joint function. If your dog doesn’t get much physical exercise, he or she may be more likely to show signs of immobility as he or she ages. Some decreased mobility is natural, but a good way to counteract this effect of aging is to promote moderate exercise. Spend some time outdoors with your dog doing what he or she enjoys most. Plan some low-impact but fun playtime that will keep him or her moving.

2. Treat Achy Joints Naturally

As your dog ages, he or she is likely to develop problems with joint function. Hips, knees, and even paws can become impaired as joint cartilage deteriorates over time. Aching and arthritic joints can be extremely uncomfortable and impede your dog’s joint function. CBD oil for dogs is a healthy and natural way to treat inflammation. It can reduce the discomfort that your dog feels in inflamed or weakened joints and help restore his or her mobility. In addition, it can help alleviate some of the stress that your dog may experience resulting from pain.

3. Give Your Dog an Orthopedic Bed

A dog needs a comfortable place to lie down and relax that will be good for his or her physical health. A bed that’s too firm will cause pressure on his or her joints, and a bed that’s too soft won’t provide adequate support. A bed made with orthopedic memory foam will provide the optimal level of support and contour to your dog’s body without creating too much pressure on his or her bones and joints.

4. Promote Hydration to Support Good Kidney Function

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive health condition that many dogs experience when they get older. This condition occurs as a result of aging and a gradual deterioration of the kidneys. They are no longer able to filter the blood of toxins as they once did, and your dog will become dehydrated more quickly. One of the first signs of kidney failure is increased water consumption because a dog will try to compensate for how quickly his or her body is losing its fluid content. Typically, by the time any signs of kidney disease have become noticeable, a dog will have already lost two thirds of his or her kidney function. In order to support your dog’s kidney health as he or she gets older, encourage frequent water drinking by changing his or her water several times a day. Your dog will be more interested in drinking when water is fresh and cool.

5. Don’t Skip Vet Visits

Catching signs of illnesses such as kidney disease early on will make it easier to treat them effectively. In order to assure that your dog is feeling okay, it’s important that you bring him or her for wellness checkups at the vet’s office. Don’t wait until your dog is showing signs of discomfort before you bring him or her in to get checked out. Some older dogs need to see the vet more than once a year; ask your veterinarian how frequently he or she needs checkup and lab work to stay on top of his or her health.

Supporting your dog’s physical health is vital to his or her quality of life and longevity. Take great care of your dog by keeping joints and kidneys healthy and ensuring that he or she receives excellent medical care.

Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.