No one is truly prepared to see the dog getting old , right? Since there is no way to stop time and the average life expectancy of dogs is between 10 and 13 years, it doesn’t take long for the signs of the elderly canine to become more evident: whitish hair, slower, loss of teeth, decreased hearing. …
At this stage of the dog’s life , he deserves even more attention and affection. Here are some special care for senior dogs that will help keep the pet healthy and ensure that it feels loved like a puppy.
At what age does a dog get old?
On average, a 7-year-old dog is elderly, but this milestone can vary depending on the size of the animal. Small breeds that weigh up to 10kg, such as the Pinscher and the Toy Poodle, move into seniors at 7 or 8 years old. The older they are, the sooner old age arrives. Large dogs can be considered elderly from the age of 5. This is the case with breeds like the Great Dane or even a Belgian Shepherd.
Elderly dogs play too! Find out how to entertain him at this stage
In old age, dogs become slower and less active, as a result of tissue and nervous system degeneration. Your puppy may not be in the same mood as before, but he still needs to move his body regularly. Therefore, walking the dog is a habit that cannot be left aside. This is even one of the secrets for the longevity of these pets: when he feels happy, he is healthier!
Take short walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is not too hot. Allow time to be able to walk slowly, letting the elderly dog do a lot of sniffing. Thus, your hunting instinct remains active. Walking also helps keep the animal’s muscles in shape, as well as warding off the chances of him developing canine obesity. But be careful: if you notice that your dog is very tired, breathing heavily and salivating excessively, do not push the limits and stop the walk immediately. Don’t forget to bring water for the tour!
Dog play is also super important in the old age of the species . Every dog has a favorite game, and it’s still a source of fun when they get older! If he always liked to catch the ball, for example, you can make the game more interesting by choosing a ball with a dispenser for the food. Instead of running to get the toy – an activity that can tire him out quickly – the dog will be able to spend time trying to catch the food grains.
Don’t forget the mental exercises, which are still important at this stage! Keep using the commands he learned throughout his life and teach him some new commands too. Then reward your pet with treats and lots of affection!
Senior dog food has a specific formula for healthy aging
Among the care for elderly dogs, food is the one that most requires attention from tutors. This is because nutritional needs change as the animal ages. While the puppy needs a good protein supply to develop well, the adult needs a balanced formula to stay healthy, without getting too fat. In the case of the elderly dog , the way nutrients are absorbed has already changed a lot, becoming much slower than in the first years of life. At this stage, the essential thing is to avoid the loss of nutrients, using food as a tool to make bones stronger and avoid obesity and heart problems, for example.
Just as the energy expenditure and metabolism of an elderly dog decrease considerably, the calorie supply should also be lower. On the other hand, senior dog food with a good amount of fiber can contribute a lot to the well-being of the pet, which may need extra help to maintain a proper gastrointestinal rhythm. Quality proteins continue to play an important role in the canine diet, helping to prevent the loss of muscle mass characteristic of senility.
Senior ration: variations and ways of serving meals
When serving food for senior dogs , a good tip is to divide the recommended daily amount – which varies according to the size of the animal – into two or three small portions and serve throughout the day, at spaced times. Another option well tolerated by older dogs is wet food. The pasty consistency, the strongest smell and the most striking flavor of this type of food are able to conquer the taste and smell already weakened of the elderly.
Bet on one of these ways to stimulate the dog’s appetite, which usually declines in old age, and ensure that he is ingesting the ideal amount of food daily. Don’t forget to leave water in different places in the house, so that the dog can hydrate wherever he is.
Vitamin for the elderly dog: how supplementation can help the canine organism to function properly
Even changing the adult food for the elderly food – which should be done gradually – it is common to include some type of vitamin for elderly dogs in the diet. It is worth noting that the diagnosis of this need, as well as the appropriate dose, must be determined by a veterinarian. Only this professional can request tests to identify nutritional deficiencies and indicate the best supplement option to prevent or treat diseases. Here is a list of vitamins that can be prescribed for older dogs:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E