For many families who own dogs, these little (or not so little!) animals become well-loved members of the family. This is particularly true of pets who come into the family when the children are young. Puppy and child grow up together, and the beloved pet becomes an important part of childhood. But just as children grow up, so do the pets. Just how different is caring for older dogs? Here are some suggestions to consider.
Rest and Exercise
One of the obvious changes in older dogs is that they lack the high energy level that puppies posses. You may notice decreased energy during daily walks, playtime in the backyard or at the park, or just in their routine around the park. It’s recommended that if they don’t have one already, older dogs be given a quiet place in the home with a soft dog bed, at a consistently comfortable temperature.
However, even though caring for senior dogs means making sure they get adequate rest, they still need exercise. Walks will need to be shorter, but more frequent. This will help to keep them at a healthy weight. Toys that they can play with indoors or outside will also give them exercise without being too strenuous.
(These tips were recommended by our friends “across the pond” in the Buxton Advertiser from http://www.buxtonadvertiser.co.uk/news/guest-column-you-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks-by-rachel-butler-rspca-1-8157082 )
Become Best Friends With Your Vet
Ideally, your older dog has been seeing the same veterinarian since their puppy days. If not, find a local veterinarian who specializes in caring for older dogs. You may need to make more frequent visits to the vet as your dog ages. Just as humans can have increased health problems in their older years, dogs can have similar health complications and require more intense care. A veterinarian who is familiar with your dog can help to assess changes in their health and make the best recommendations for their care, such as a change in dog food and/or medication.
It’s also recommended to look into pet insurance. Properly caring for pets, no matter how beloved, can become pricey very quickly. For example, pet owners in the United States spend $13.59 billion on vet care every year. Ouch! Good pet insurance plans can help offset some of these costs, and some plans offer special coverage for older dogs. These savings can help you to financially be able to care for your well-loved pet for many years.
In summary, caring for your older dog includes an increase in rest, but they still need some exercise (enough that they are able to handle). They may also need changes to their diet or added medications, which your veterinarian will be able to provide. Pet insurance for dogs may help to offset some of those costs. And don’t forget, your older dog is still the same lovable little puppy you brought home all of those years ago. They deserve the best care possible!
Trackback from your site.