Considering our line of business, we here at Silver Streak Kennels understand how difficult it can be for you to cope with the fact that your pet is getting up there in age. You can remember the day that you first brought him home as a puppy but as the years have passed, that puppy has grown and may now suffer the physical and emotional pains of it. As a member of your family, situations such as this can be extremely difficult to endure, and you may not know what more you can do.
It’s very important for you as the owner to recognize the signs of an aging dog and to take the necessary measures to give him the best quality of life possible. Just as your dog has been there for you in your times of need, he needs you to help him through his own.
A Nutritious Diet – According to veterinarian and senior pet expert, Dr. Ernie Ward, “Feeding your pet the proper nutrition in their senior years…is critical to helping them fight the signs of aging and keeping them active and playful.” Depending on the breed and size of your dog, as well as his own specific health ailments, your vet may suggest certain food brands, ingredients or special formulas. That being sad, it is highly recommended to speak with your pet’s primary veterinarian on the matter.
Exercise – We had mentioned the importance of keeping your older dog physically active in a previous post, and we still firmly believe it. Though your pet probably won’t be able to keep up with you the way that he did when he was younger, a few shorter walks during the week can do wonders for his physical and mental health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight – It’s extremely important to keep your dog lean in his older years, as extra pounds equal more stress on the body. This could cause problems for your pet when it comes to both his joints and internal organs, so be conscious of whether or not your pup could stand to lose a few pounds and speak to your vet about a weight loss plan.
Regular Check-Ups – The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that senior dogs visit their vet’s office at least every six months for a check-up. A lot can happen in between visits and if your pet does turn out to have a health issue, it can often be treated if caught early enough. While you’re there, consider asking your vet if there are any common health issues associated with your dog’s breed and whether there are any warning signs to be on the lookout for.
Don’t Neglect the Teeth – Veterinarian, Dr. Fred Metzger states in his report, Caring For Your Senior Dog that as tartar build up causes gingivitis, that bacteria can get into your dog’s bloodstream and wreak havoc on his organs. Be mindful of regular at-home brushing and look into an annual professional cleaning with your vet.
If you find that you are unable to keep up with the demands of an aging pet, remember that you have options. A dog retirement home, like Silver Streak Kennels, exists for exactly this reason. Many pet owners are skeptical because they fear that if they send their pet here, they didn’t love him enough. On the contrary, bringing your family pet to a place where they can get the proper care and attention they need to live out a happy life is the greatest gift you can give him. Call us today to learn more.