Older dogs that are in their twilight years are often overlooked in favor of cute little puppies, and fun loving adolescents. Senior dogs, however, have a lot to give. They often have wonderful characters, adore a good snuggle and are incredibly loving. Not to mention they often still have plenty of energy, need less exercise and are usually well trained and have less obedience problems.
Adopting a senior dog is exceptionally rewarding. Quite often they are given over to rescue centres when their owners pass away, and being suddenly thrown into kennel life is stressful and upsetting for them. Rescuing dogs in their golden years does mean that you won’t have that dog in your life for as long, and you need to be prepared for providing them with certain care that younger pups may not need.
More Check Ups
Be prepared to take your older dog to the vet more often than younger pooches. Consider going for checkups every 6 months rather than once a year, and be sure to do plenty of your own checks at home by regularly checking their skin, ears and teeth.
Keep a Close on Eye out for Behavioral Changes
If your senior dog suddenly stops acting like themselves then don’t assume that they are acting up. Behavioral changes in dogs can be a sign that they are in pain or feeling unwell, so a trip to the vet rather than the dog trainer may be in order.
Adapt your Home
Whereas once your dog may have been able to jump onto the couch or climb the stairs without a problem, it may be an issue for older hounds with achy joints and tired muscles. Keep eating, drinking and sleeping areas downstairs in easy to reach places.
Keep Up Exercise – Within Reason
Even geriatric dogs still love a daily walk, but don’t push them too far. Let them go at a steady and slow pace, and don’t take them for long walks which will tire them out and may feel painful.
Change their Diet
You may find that your dog is no longer able to easily digest the food he has been having for years, or it could be that he struggles with crunching on kibble due to dental issues. Keep an eye on how they are handling their diet.
Enjoy your Dog
Every month, week or day with a geriatric dog is a gift. Enjoy every day you have with your special, old friend and appreciate all the love they give to you.