Summer and Your Elder Dog

With the warm weather in the forecast, it’s a great time of year for you and your four-legged friend to spend time enjoying the nice days and sunshine. However, there are a few things to keep in mind while relaxing and playing in the summer sun when it comes to your elderly companion. Here are four factors to be aware of this summer.

Heatstroke

As the temperatures rise, our layers tend to drop as we exchange the thick coats and pants for the T-shirts and shorts of summertime. Your dog doesn’t have that advantage; he or she is stuck with a fur coat all year long. As your dog grows older, they may begin to be more susceptible to these temperature changes as it becomes more difficult for them to regulate their heat appropriately. If you’ll be walking or out hiking for the day, make sure to take frequent rest and water breaks for both you and your friend to give them a chance to stay cool and hydrated.

Arthritis

Closeup photo of a beauty Labrador dog

Just as people can become more stiff and pained by the onset of arthritis in their joints, your dog can feel the effects of joint inflammation, too. While this may not be as severe of an issue in your pup’s day-to-day activities, a cool or stormy day or winding down at the end of a play session may be just the sort of thing that plagues his or her nerves. You may notice your dog seeming to be more lethargic or being growly and agitated when this happens, perhaps even wimpering or yelping. Fortunately, PetMD notes that there are a number of drugs available from veterinarians that can help alleviate these symptoms, as well as diet and exercise regiments that can help.

Vision and Hearing

Another summertime concern relates more to your furry friend’s own battle against the effects of aging. As dogs grow older, they may begin to suffer from reduced vision or hearing, making it more difficult for them to see where they are going or hear you when you call. This is something to be very conscious of while playing or walking, especially in unfamiliar or infrequently traveled places. Your dog may become easily lost and not hear you signaling for them, or they may become disoriented and end up in a potentially dangerous or hazardous location if their eyes mislead them. Keep a watchful eye on your aging friend and make sure you both make it back home.

Heart Disease

One final concern to be aware of is signs of heart disease in your dog. One of the leading concerns with an elderly dog is heart disease, with symptoms that may not be initially seen as much more than an occasional mistake at first. If your dog shows signs of coughing, vomiting or heavy breathing – especially following a brisk hike or walk – it may be symptoms of heart disease. Your dog may also seem to lose interest in eating or eat less than before. If you notice these signs, be sure to call your vet to see what they might recommend or to schedule an appointment.

There are many things to keep in mind as you care for your aging friend, and we’ve seen them all. If it’s becoming a full-time job that you just can’t handle or if you need to leave your older dog in good hands, turn to Silver Streak Kennels. We have years of experience in elder care for dogs, whether it’s a short-term stay or a long-term retirement. Contact us today and see how we can help make your pet comfortable and provide the best quality of life possible.