Dogs are synonymous with energy and fun. However, just like humans, they also have a life cycle of growth, maturity and aging. The way to the old age is often unmarked. People who have dogs often fail to notice that their pet is not as active as it once used to be or eats less or indulges in deep sleep. They must realize that their good old friend ages with each passing year and would want peace and rest, unlike the younger days when it was full of liveliness. Though old age brings suffering along with it, it can be avoided by take extra care of your dog. Let's know certain things which are essential while caring for old dogs.
Caring For Old Dogs
The diet for aging dogs should be light, but nutritious. Digestion gets impaired as the dog grows old, so the quantity of food per meal should be reduced. However, the frequency of feeding should be increased, keeping the daily food quantity the same. Clean and fresh water should always be available. It is not advisable to make any sudden changes in diet. If a new type of food has to be fed, it should be mixed with the ongoing type and the quantity may be increased gradually.
An aging dog cannot walk as fast as he used to, so the distance covered during the walk should be reduced. You should also make him stop for rest during the walks. Staircases and tiring games should be avoided, since his heart will not be as strong as it used to be. Keep in mind that activities have to be reduced in intensity and not stopped completely.
As your dog ages, he might suffer from ailments like diarrhea or constipation. Since body resistance is also lowered with age, he will catch infections easily. Skeletal degenerative diseases are also common in aging dogs. Regular brushing of the dog's coat will activate the skin glands and act as a massage for the loosening muscles.
Older dogs need to be kept inside, where it's warm at night, and not left outdoor, to face the harsh weather conditions. As dogs grow older, they tend to sleep for longer periods. You need to make sure that the beds are soft and warm. A good and comfortable sleep will make your dog more active when he is awake.
Ear & Eye Impairment
All the organs and senses of the body are affected by old age. The sense of hearing which, otherwise, is really sharp in dogs is also affected by old age. Use hand gestures while communicating anything. Quite often, you may see your dog bumping into chairs and other household items while walking about. This is mainly due to impaired vision in old age. During this period, the dog smells his way about as well as he can. To avoid hurting him, it is better not to change the position of household items and other important landmarks, such as place of feeding bowl, sleeping etc.