Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Caring For Your Older Dog

Our friend, Maria Godfrey, in the UK sent us the following tips with a couple simple changes can make your older dog's (and your) life a bit more comfortable:

Older dogs make perfect companions: they are gentle, loyal and loving, and caring for an older dog is a rewarding experience. Whether you and he have watched the years roll by together, or if your wise friend is a new addition to your life, you'll want the very best for your pooch in their golden years. As such, here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your companion:

A properly balanced diet is vital for any dog, but if your furry is aged seven or over - or five if he's a larger breed - a specially designed food for older dogs may be beneficial. Your vet will be able to offer you more information about the changing nutritional needs of your dog as he ages.

Long Live Your Dog advises owners to keep in mind that older dogs will usually perform less physical activity than their younger counterparts, so the amount of food you give them should be adjusted accordingly. Don't over-feed your dog - obesity is associated with an increased risk of health problems.   

If your older dog has trouble chewing, perhaps due to age-related dental issues, you could wet their dry food slightly with water to make it easier for them to handle.

Your older dog may find it difficult to get around as well as he once did, and jumps that once seemed like nothing can become potentially painful drops, so perhaps the Easy Step Pet Stairs sold by Pets at Home could help him on a day to day basis. Consider it if you have a steep step up to your garden gate or front door, perhaps. Another potentially handy accessory sold by the pet store is the extra tall pet gate. Check out retailers such as Pets at Home for ideas. Fitting this gate can work in several ways - putting your mind at rest if you are worried about your dog's unsteady legs on steep stairs, or ensuring a weakened bladder doesn't become a problem in your child's, or indeed your own, bedroom.