Perhaps the most challenging part of pet ownership is that all dogs grow old eventually. However, with proper care and attention, many of the signs of aging can be managed and mitigated. Listed here are 10 tips for caring for your aging dog.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
One of the easiest steps a pet owner can take to reduce the risk of health and joint problems later in life is to keep their dog at a healthy weight. Dogs that are overweight or obese are more likely to experience arthritis, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, heart failure, and thyroid conditions. If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian.
Provide Plenty of Exercise
While senior dogs generally have less energy than younger pets, they still benefit from exercise. Short walks, runs, and play sessions promote enhanced circulation, improved metabolism, and better cardiac health. If exercise is too painful for your dog, consider hydrotherapy. Dogs with arthritis experience many benefits from water exercise, particularly improved joint mobility and decreased pain.
Feed a Senior Diet
As your dog grows older, his or her metabolism will slow down. Once your dog reaches senior-status (generally around 8 years of age), consider reducing your dog’s portion sizes or switching to a dog food formulated for the needs of seniors. High quality foods that are rich in protein and low in fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients are best for your senior.
All dogs can benefit from supplements, particularly senior dogs whose immune systems are no longer as strong as they once were. Two supplements that are great for aging dogs are WINPRO’s Mobility and Immunity treats. Both supplements contain the proprietary blend of K-Thrive D animal blood proteins which supports the immune system while negating the effects of stress and inflammation. Additional active ingredients in the two blends provide additional support for your pet.
Mobility is formulated for improved joint mobility and reduced pain and stiffness. Active ingredients also include balanced collagen, which supports cartilage and joint health.
Immunity is formulated for improved gastrointestinal health. As dogs age, their gut can weaken leading to loose stools, increased allergies, and nausea. The Immunity blend contains deglycyrrhized licorice and marshmallow root powder to further support your dog’s immune system.
A unique feature of WINPRO supplements is that they can be fed in conjunction with one another. If your senior dog suffers from both poor gut and joint health, Mobility and Immunity can be given simultaneously to your pet.
Know the Signs of Arthritis
Nearly every dog will suffer from arthritis to a varying degree. Understanding the signs of arthritis can help you better manage your dog’s symptoms. Your pet may be experiencing arthritis if he or she exhibits the following signs:
Reluctance to jump or exercise
Pain when touched
Schedule a visit with your veterinarian if you notice these signs and develop a plan for minimizing your dog’s discomfort.
Prevent Dental Disease
Throughout your dog’s life you should actively prevent dental disease, which is considered a silent killer in dogs. Dental treats, frequent teeth brushing, and regular dental cleanings all prevent gum disease later in life.
Accommodate your Dog’s Needs
An older dog will have different needs from a puppy. If your dog is allowed onto the furniture, provide pet steps to minimize joint stress. Place a water bowl in every room so that your dog can hydrate easily. Bedding should be soft and cushioned to protect painful joints. Finally, provide your dog with temperature-controlled areas in your home. Senior dogs have a more difficult time regulating their body temperatures in both cold and hot weather.
Visit the Vet Regularly
As your dog ages, vet visits should be increased to once every six months to watch for signs of common health problems. Many diseases can be easily managed or cured when caught early.
Talk to your Vet about Vaccines
As dogs grow older their vaccine needs may change. At present, many veterinary colleges recommend senior dogs move to a once-every-3-years vaccine schedule. Talk to your veterinarian to see if this option is right for your pet.
Don’t Treat Your Dog Like a Senior
Finally, as your dog ages continue to treat him or her like a puppy. Give your dog just as much love and attention as you did when your pet was bouncy and playful. Treating your best friend as though he or she is “old” will only age your dog faster, both mentally and physically. Above all, give your pet all the love and TLC that he or she deserves!
WINPRO IMMUNITY contains a blend of animal blood proteins and other key ingredients to help dogs combat the negative effects of stress and inflammation. WINPRO Immunity is specifically formulated to help boost your dog's defense against things that can undermine its immune system. By promoting a healthy gut, WINPRO Immunity helps dogs of all ages —especially during times of travel, stress, competition, etc.