Speaking from first hand experience, I can tell you it is never easy watching the animal you raised get older. You want to remember them as the sprightly young animal they were, even if the trouble they got in at the time drove you crazy. I remember watching my first and only family dog get older. We had adopted him and he immediately immersed himself in our life. As we all got older, he got slower and it became apparent that changes needed to be made to accommodate his new way of life. It is our responsibility as pet owners to make the necessary changes to our dogs lives so they can live comfortably.
I asked Dr. Deb, a Veterinarian on JustAnswer, how to best care for an older dog.
1. Senior food should be fed since it contains anti-oxidants, joint supplements, and more protein. If an older dog's kidneys are healthy, then older dogs require more protein in their diet since the don't process it as well as when they were younger.
2. Have annual blood work done to assess kidney and liver function and ensure overall proper functions.
3. Focus on keeping a lean body weight is critically important for longevity and health.
4. Supplements especially if your dog is prone to arthritis or currently has arthritis/joint issues.
5. Help keep your dog’s brain engaged and active through interactive games or play time. Exercise can not only help with weight issues but can help increase blood flow to the brain.
In the end, every dog’s needs will vary and it is important you communicate with your Veterinarian to ensure you are doing everything you can for your dog. Remember, Vets on JustAnswer are available 24/7. Speak to a Vet Now >