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As part of the circle of life, our young, energetic pup will grow and age within time; becoming a senior dog. Their needs will change over time and we must adjust to their needs in order to provide a healthy and secure environment for them. We all want them to last as long as possible by our side; that’s why we share some tips for taking care of a senior dog.

1Knowing if my dog is a senior dog

A dog is generally considered senior at 6-7 years old. Although large breed dogs age faster, small breed dogs are considered senior at 11-12 years (ex. Chihuahua).

2Visit your vet twice a year

As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you pay a visit to your veterinarian at least twice a year. Six months can be a really long time for a dog due to their fast aging rate. Preventive care will help you catch any derails from the norm and help resolve any health complications if diagnosed on time.

3Dental care

Dental care is important for your dog at any stage of their life, but it plays a significant role with a senior dog. Because a dental disease will be painful and make it hard for your dog chew his food.

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4Diet, food

Over time the dog tends to be less active, thus not needing as much calorie intake as its younger days. It’s really important, we monitor our dog’s weight and food intake; because an overweight dog can be prone to diseases and puts more stress on your dog’s joints. Try feeding fresh food, maybe vegetables, home-cooked meals, and treats. Eventually, we will need to change our Fido’s food because those crunchy nibbles will start to make it difficult for your dog to eat.

Photo credit: Pete Souza

5Stay active

A key to keeping your dog as healthy as possible is exercise. If your dog stays active it will help maintain a healthy body weight, and help prevent joint degeneration.

Walking is a great way to keep your dog active and if you a have a pool or live near the beach; swimming is always a good idea. It will help your dog’s joints, just be careful of water intoxication.

6Parasite control

Having a preventive care for parasites it’s beneficial because the older they get, their immune system becomes weaker. Which means that your dog’s health conditions can worsen greatly because of ticks, fleas, worms and other pests.

7Exercise their mind

We must stimulate our dog’s brain, either with games or by teaching them new tricks. You can give your dog puzzle toys; where they need to figure out how to get the treat or you can enroll your dog in basic training/trick classes. Make sure to always have your house/apt full of dog toys. By keeping toys accessible to your dog, you can keep him busy and interact with them as well.

8Senior proofing your house

As the dog ages, it can experience hearing and eyesight loss. If this is happening, we must ensure the dog is out of harm’s way in the house. Try removing dangerous objects from their path (tables, cables, etc), and use pet gates to crate a safe area for your dog when it’s unsupervised. Always visit your vet if the dog has eyesight problems.

9Accessibility

Arthritis and joint pain can make it difficult for your dog to get around. Try enabling ramps to get around the stairs, bed or outside. Hydrotherapy and therapeutic massage can also be effective therapies for dogs with joint pain. Always visit your veterinarian for the latest treatments and therapies.

10Cuddle time

Physical contact with your dog will be critical. Nothing says I love you more like a good cuddle, belly rub and hitting that tickle spot. Cherish every moment with your dog, that physical connection will boost and strengthen your bond. Don’t take it for granted and do it every time you have the opportunity; you will both be glad you did.

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