Pet Tips: Expert Advice To Help You Care For Your Aging Dog This Winter
Age can creep up on dogs, faster than their humans would like, but there is a lot that you can do to make it easier for them this winter.
A graying nose and eyebrows are telltale signs. The same goes for the blank stare when your dog stares at the wall or gets stuck in a corner of a room.
Old age can sneak up on dogs, faster than their humans would like. One day they are running like crazy, the next minute they won’t try to jump into the living room they previously claimed to be theirs.
A dog year is roughly equivalent to seven or eight human years, even more so for large breeds of dogs, which can reach their final years at the age of seven.
Hopefully, they live between 14 and 15 years old, while small dogs can reach 18 or 19 and don’t grow into old people until they are nine.
As dogs get older their needs increase and owners need to be aware of what’s to come and what adjustments will need to be made. They may drink more water, which may be a sign of kidney problems, have bad breath, or appear disoriented.
Older dogs begin to lose their hearing, sight, and even their teeth, as lumps and bumps appear and can be of concern. They can become fussy with food, even those who have already inhaled meals without a sidelong glance and need smaller meals more frequently.
Then there is the very slow walking and the slippery, unstable feet when standing to eat, caused by long fur growing between their paws. Joint pain and trembling legs can be a sign of arthritis or parkinsonism.
Incontinence is inevitable, with small accidents becoming regular occurrences indoors. Knowing your dog’s cues when he wants to go to the bathroom and helping him get outside to relieve himself is the best way to help him.
Veterinarian Dr Chris Brown says 40% of dogs aged 14 and over will show signs of canine cognitive dysfunction or canine dementia.
“Just like in humans, the signs are slow, gradual, and heartbreaking,” he says.
“Just like with people, there is no cure.”
Common signs stare into space, get stuck in the corners of the house, pace and increase anxiety.
Chris says the best way to help our senior friends is with routine and keeping the bowls and their bed in one place so they don’t get more disoriented.
“I like to make life easier by giving them the routine they need to feel better,” he says. “Talk to them so they know they belong.
“If you are not at home, leave the television or radio on, so loneliness is not that big a factor. “And exercise. As they say in the human world, what is good for the body is good for the spirit. Most importantly, love them now more than ever. “
TIPS FOR WATCHING YOUR AGING ANIMALS
● Plenty of blankets or a heating mat for pets.
● A coat or jacket, even indoors.
● They may walk to the bowl of water and then forget why they are there. Encourage them to have a drink.
● Lots of patience, extra hugs and TLC.
● Nail clippers and fur trims.
● Exercise, but shorter walks.
● Place grippy mats under the bowls to prevent the feet from slipping.
● Regular veterinary checks for lumps and bumps, joint pain and stiffness, digestion, cancer, heart and kidney health.
● Some problems can be managed with nutrition, for example, Hill’s Pet KI for kidney failure.
● If you have a dog indoors, give him extra stops so he can relieve himself regularly.
KEEP YOUR PETS WARM THIS WINTER
Winter is almost here and it’s time to cover up.
The same goes for our dogs, especially if they spend a lot of their time in the elements.
Senior veterinary nurse Crystal Bulmer says pet owners need to make sure their four-legged friends have a place to shelter from the rain and wind, which many pet owners tend to do. to forget. A soft, comfortable bed with raised sides to cut off the breeze is a good option, Crystal says.
“An upholstered dog bed is fine, but most dogs will be happy with an old cushion or a pillow and a blanket or two,” she says.
“Just make sure there is some sort of windbreaker.”
A cozy toy is also fun to curl up. Check out second hand and charity stores for bargains.
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