As pet owners we all know that sooner, or later our best friend is going to get old, just as we do, but what can we do about giving him the best quality of life in his last few years? Many dogs after the age of about 7, or 8 are classed as senior pets, and depending on their health, there are quite a few things we can do to make life a little easier for him. In this article we will take a closer look at our senior best friends to see what we can do to make things a little more comfortable for him, after all, he’s made our life happier over the years, now let’s see what we can do in return.
One of the first things we need to do when our pet reaches his senior status is to schedule vet visits twice a year instead of once per year. That said, six months is quite a long time in terms of dog years, and a lot can happen in just six months when it comes to their health. Moreover, dental issues, joint issues, and many other conditions can set in, so it’s best to have a check up twice yearly. Any conditions that our best friend has developed can be relieved by medications or even diet, and if it’s a condition that can’t be treated there may be medications that can ease his pain if he is suffering.
Keep in mind, that diet should be one of the things we look at when our dog gets older, because their digestive system may become more sensitive, and their teeth may not be as strong. Therefore, looking at different types of food may be a good thing, because a softer food can make it easier to chew, or even a food that is easier on the digestive system can be better for him too. Having said that, don’t just run out, and buy a softer food, talk with your vet to see what he recommends, because he may even give you supplements to go with the new food or recommend a home made diet.
Another thing that is important in our dogs senior years is keeping up with parasite control, as their immune system isn’t what it used to be. Fleas, ticks and other parasites can spread disease, and our older dog can’t always fight off infection like he used to, so make sure he is taking flea and tick preventatives. Moreover, you should be treating him for heart worm monthly, because heart worm is even more dangerous in older dogs, and can kill any dog if not treated.
Exercise is another thing we need to keep our eye on, because he may not be able to walk for that same hour that he did just six months ago. We know exercise will keep him from becoming overweight, and is good for him, but at the same time he may not be able to walk as far or for as long now. However, you know your dog better than anyone, so paying attention to him when exercising is important, as you may be able to spot when he has had enough, or you may be able to tell if he is having any joint issues.
When it comes to our senior pets you may want to consider looking at your environment to see if you can do anything to make his life a little easier. Senior dogs are more prone to developing joint conditions, so if he is used to going up and down stairs often maybe you can change things so he can stay downstairs. Monitoring him when he is out in the garden could be essential too due to changes in temperatures. Keep in mind, that they can get heat stroke more easily during hot weather, and he is also less likely to defend himself against other animals.
Finally, we never like to discuss the inevitable, our best friend passing away yet we know it will happen, just as it does with family members and relatives. Therefore, the best approach is to treat every day as a golden opportunity to create a lasting memory with him, take a video or some pictures, so you can look back and enjoy the memories and share them with family and friends. Enjoy, and embrace those moments you used to take for granted, and set aside an hour or, so a day to just snuggle up with him, give him a treat, go for a walk, or just talk to him and let him know you love him just as much as you did the day you got him.