Taking care of your senior dog might be a little different then caring for a puppy or a “middle” aged dog. The term “senior” is referring to an older pet, this can vary from breed to breed.
For example, a Chihuahua is considered a senior when they are ten to twelve years of age. A larger breed dog can be considered a senior at age five or six. Veterinarians will consider most dogs a senior at age seven or eight.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has come up with a list of ways to help your Senior dog live the longest and happiest life possible.
Creating an Appropriate and Healthy Diet
As you pet begins to age you might see them loose interest in food or start eating more food than they did. A senior dog is going to have different eating patterns then a puppy and their dietary needs change as they age.
The most common problem seen in senior dogs is obesity. Almost 53% of senior dogs are overweight. Being overweight can affect the dog’s overall quality of life and lifespan.
This means that seniors should be on a low calorie and high fiber diet to aid in their gastrointestinal health. As a dog begins to age their energy starts to become slower creating a slower metabolic rate. You might start to see other health problems begin to pop up as your dog ages.
Most medical problems need to be treated, but they should be aided with a special diet. If your dog has diabetes, kidney failure or other heart and liver diseases they may need specialized veterinary diets. Senior food often has a better-quality protein source then a “regular” dog food.
Grooming an Older Dog
Many older dogs do not have the same amount of energy as puppies and middle-aged dogs. This means that they may lay around or start to lose interest in grooming themselves.
Long haired dogs are especially prone to matting of the hair. It is important to make sure that their nails are groomed, and they are not growing out too far. Some dogs will naturally groom their nails and others will not.