Just like people, dogs might need extra help to stay healthy as they age. As they get older, senior dogs could be vulnerable to different health problems depending on their breed, diet, weight and overall health. These health problems can include reduced cognitive and brain health, joint issues, cardiovascular problems, obesity, and other metabolic diseases.
This means that you may notice some physical and behavioural changes in your dog’s daily habits and appearance – things like a gradual slowing of activity, graying of the nuzzle, changes in their sleep cycle, loss of muscle mass, decrease in vision, hearing, changes in weight and coat shininess, among other changes.
However, you may not be able to see everything that’s going on, which is why it’s critical that you help your senior dog maintain its best health. An important way to do that, in addition to getting regular veterinary check-ups, is to ensure they have a complete and well-balanced diet and regular exercise, as well as supplementation specific for older dogs.
Large-size dogs are considered in the senior category between the ages of seven and nine. Smaller breeds reach their senior years around ages 12 to 14. At this stage, older dogs can have musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, brain and immune health problems. Nonetheless, a complete and well-balanced diet can provide significant help in maintaining the general health of their organs and tissues. So there is good news!
In fact, there are specific ways you can help your ageing dog maintain cognitive function, range of motion, normal cardiovascular health and support a healthy immune system. Here are some basic ideas on how to help your dog feel their best as they age.
1. Maintain a physical exercise program. Having a consistent and regular exercise routine is good for your dog regarding their age, but it is critically important as they become older. Just like with us, being active can help our physical and mental well-being.
2. Help them to stay as agile as possible. Change up activities that don’t put any unnecessary stress on the joints but still give them enjoyment out in the fresh air. After all, dogs love, love, love to run, jump and play.
3. Add mental exercises. When you pair physical exercise with things such a playing games or reinforcing known commands, this helps your dog keep their mind active. Puzzle toys, for instance, are a great way to gently challenge their brain while they are busy having fun.
As mentioned, paying attention to proper nutrition is a central part of caring for your senior dog. An age-specific diet, along with age-appropriate exercises can help them stay healthy well into their senior years.
At Hike Again Remedies, we’re passionate about the health of senior dogs. Explore our Canadian-made supplements formulated in compliance with Health Canada, to help maintain your dog’s health.