How To Help Senior Dogs

Age-related slowing down means you might have to encourage your canine companion to exercise.

“Joints are supported by muscles,” adds Dr. Morgan.

Mobility substantially declines in the absence of healthy muscular tone. This explains why physical therapy for pets has grown so popular. Joints in motion maintain their pliability; immobile joints become stiff.

If you and your pet used to go for runs, they could now prefer a leisurely stroll. The 12-and-a-half-year-old Great Dane-Rottweiler mix owned by Iris Salsman has slowed down with age, but she is in good health and content to be active.

Salsman claims that keeping her entertained involves taking her on very long hikes. “We visit locations where she can discover different scents. She strolls around looking at everything. Although it doesn’t qualify as exercise in my book, it awakens her senses.

A leaner body weight will put less strain on a dog’s joints and heart muscle, according to Wilhem. A dog with an optimal body weight and who stays active has a higher chance to fend against inflammation and stiffness.

It should be varied to keep things mentally engaging as well. Alternate between swimming and going to the dog park, try a new toy, or adjust your route through the neighborhood.

According to Coughlin, many senior dogs like swimming in their owners’ pools or at facilities that offer hydrotherapy.

It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout. Swimming and water play are great low-impact workouts for elderly dogs.

How can I tell whether my elderly dog is in pain?

We typically notice behavioral changes in dogs as they become older. Adult dogs tend to lie in the sun and lounge around while watching television rather than the energetic ball-chasing and nonstop running that we associate with pups. We accept even greater slowing down in senior pets. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that becoming older is not an illness. We must distinguish between aged dogs’ typical behavioral changes and aberrant actions that may be crucial pain signals.

What kind of behavior changes might I see in my dog that could be a sign that he’s in pain?

Unfortunately, it is not always easy or obvious to tell when our canine friends are in pain. Important warning signals that a dog may be in discomfort include several clearly noticeable actions. These consist of:

  • staying off slick floor surfaces
  • trouble rising up or taking a long time to rise up after lying down
  • being comfortable or struggling to sit or lie down
  • limping/lameness
  • reclining while consuming food or beverages
  • unwillingness or incapacity to leap up onto or into a bed, piece of furniture, or an automobile
  • unwillingness to climb or descend stairs
  • unwillingness to lift his head to accept a treat
  • refusal to sit when instructed
  • unwillingness to tilt his head to either side
  • Lazy sitting involves leaning on one hip or the other and angling the back legs to one side.
  • moving one’s weight away from a hurting limb while standing to one side
  • holding his head down or walking with his back arched
  • moving or strolling while urinating or defecating
  • fecal or urinary mishaps
  • If he can’t relax at night, he will get restless.

Any of these actions should be followed by a trip to the vet so the cause of the discomfort may be found and treatment can start.

What are some other changes in my dog’s behavior or attitude that could be caused by pain?

Fatigue. It’s common to misunderstand decreased stamina while walking or playing as an indication of advancing age. Reduced stamina may be caused by a variety of factors, including metabolic disorders like hypothyroidism or heart disease. To ascertain the cause, your dog will need to be examined by your veterinarian. However, in this circumstance, pain must be taken into account, particularly from chronic alterations brought on by diseases like osteoarthritis (OA). When a dog’s pain is alleviated, the owners frequently observe a return to previously abandoned pastimes and an increase in general vigor. In other words, unless the discomfort is alleviated, owners are unaware that their pet was in pain.

resistance to being trained. Reluctance to be brushed, combed, or otherwise groomed is a frequently disregarded indication of pain in dogs. Any type of pain, but especially the chronic pain brought on by OA, can spread throughout the body, making the dog feel pain even in places other than the arthritic joints. When this occurs, dogs develop increased sensitivity over their entire body, making even being combed or brushed uncomfortable. These dogs frequently get dandruff (flaky skin), mats in their coats, and can have stains from feces or urine on their hind ends if they have medium- or long-haired coats. Dogs groom themselves to keep clean, just like cats do, but if they are in discomfort they will stop.

unwillingness to be lifted up. Small dogs, particularly those that are long and low to the ground, may show their discomfort by refusing to be picked up. If they have back discomfort, the upward pressure of our hands around their bodies may cause it to flare up. Make an appointment to check for pain if your tiny dog starts to protest being lifted up.

apprehension at being touched in particular places. Any body part should be happily handled by a dog who is not in pain. You should be able to touch the entire back, including the sides, the top, the lowest part of the torso (where the lower back begins and the ribcage ends), and the region that is sometimes referred to as the “waist” between the ribs and pelvis. Your dog shouldn’t react negatively when you touch the region near the base of the tail.

Along with the body, your dog should be able to tolerate you handling all four limbs, including the toes, feet, and joints of the front and back legs. Your dog will respond best if he or she is lying down rather than standing when you try to gauge their degree of comfort by handling the feet and legs.

What if I’m not sure my dog has pain?

Check it out if you’re unsure. If you think your dog could be in pain, always give them the benefit of the doubt. Dogs are naturally stoic creatures who do not whine about pain unless it is severe, and even then, they may not. As their carers, it is crucial to pay attention so that any behavioral changes are noticed and brought to your veterinarian’s attention. Your dog can resume living a pleasant, pain-free life with the assistance of your veterinarian healthcare team, which is prepared to assist in recognizing pain and discomfort when it is present and to treat it.

How can I assist my aging dog?

It’s crucial that dogs continue to get lots of exercise as they get older. They will lose it if they don’t move it. The primary regulator of metabolism is muscle mass, and dogs who lose muscle develop frailty syndrome, which has the effect of hastening the aging process.

The degree of activity in a dog may progressively decline over time if something isn’t right. Older dog owners should look for subtle indicators of pain and consult a veterinarian to develop a suitable treatment strategy. Still, pet parents believe that “slowing down” is a hallmark of aging. It is a sign of untreated pain, albeit that isn’t always the case.

The Whistle 3 dog GPS tracker and activity monitor is one example of a handy device that is made to help dog owners keep track of their dog’s activity level. Dog owners might change their dog’s exercise regimen to incorporate more playtime or longer walks if activity levels are low.

Additionally, exercising your senior dog will aid in preventing weight gain. The most crucial thing you can do to lessen the affects of arthritis on your dog is to keep them lean.

How can you make a senior dog live longer?

7 Ways to Increase the Lifespan of Your Dog

  • Give your dog a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • dental treatment
  • Don’t overdo it with the exercise; keep your dog active.
  • Offer stimulation and enrichment for the mind.
  • regular visits to the vet.
  • Supplements.
  • Increased Attention

Are older dogs challenging to care for?

According to veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, it’s crucial to discuss any changes in your dog’s food or behavior with your physician.

It gets harder to take care of pets as they get older. Aging dog owners frequently battle with their pets’ dementia and incontinence in addition to stumbling through the confusing end-of-life care options.

Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist who oversees the Animal Behavior division at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has extensive experience working with elderly dogs. According to him, aging is not a disease but rather a period of life that owners and dogs must deal with.

Dodman recently worked on a reference book for dog owners of older dogs called Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Healthy, Happy, and Comfortable with fellow veterinarians from Tufts University as well as author Lawrence Linder.

They’re less equipped to handle the temperature fluctuation, which is a recipe for disaster.

According to Dodman, one of the fundamental things pet owners should understand about caring for elderly animals is that due to changes in their metabolism, older dogs are frequently more susceptible to significant temperature changes.

He continues, “They’re actually like older people. “Elderly persons are frequently the ones who suffer from these cold snaps or heat waves. They have weaker thermoregulatory abilities. Therefore, we must account for that by ensuring they are wearing some sort of blanket-like coat or device to keep them warm and prevent us from leaving them outside for an extended period of time in cold weather. The same is true with heat. Really, you shouldn’t tie them up and leave them in the yard, especially on a hot day. Dehydration may occur. They’re less equipped to handle the temperature fluctuation, which is a prescription for disaster.”

Is a dog 13 years old?

Depending on her size and condition, a 13 to 15-year-old dog is roughly similar to a 70 to 115-year-old human. Your dog finds it more difficult to learn new things as she gets older. She might even be reluctant to changes in her routine and environment.

How can I treat the discomfort in my 14-year-old dog?

Are you unsure about the best painkillers for dogs or whether they can safely take over-the-counter medications? Starting with NSAIDs: Pharmaceuticals known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are not corticosteroids (such as prednisone) or opioids (like morphine or codeine). Because they may employ various methods, they may exert varying degrees of efficacy and safety on various types of animals. Carprofen, ketoprofen, meloxicam, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and a host of additional medications fall under this category.

Although its usage in dogs is regarded as off-label, aspirin is the only NSAID available over the counter that is widely acknowledged to be safe. Before using it, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. Except when specifically advised by your veterinarian, aspirin should only be used as a temporary solution because safer and more effective alternatives are available. If you must use aspirin, only provide buffered aspirin; non-buffered aspirin can seriously upset your stomach.

NSAIDs on prescription have a very good safety and efficacy track record, such carprofen and meloxicam. In my view, the advantage outweighs the possibility of negative repercussions. With little risk, these medications can significantly improve the quality of life for your arthritic pet.

To take NSAIDs for extended periods of time in older dogs who may have liver or kidney issues, periodic blood testing may be required. Although these adverse effects are not particularly frequent, NSAIDS can induce stomach distress or stomach lining hemorrhage in susceptible dogs.

The biggest issue I see with NSAID use is that owners are frequently reluctant to take them as prescribed on a regular basis and instead try to wait until the pain in the dog is more pronounced before taking them. Rather than being used reactively to treat pain after it has already manifested, several of these medications are made to be used regularly to avoid discomfort. Since arthritis cannot be “fixed,” it is typically much more effective to take NSAIDs on a daily basis or as prescribed by your veterinarian.

What can I anticipate from a 12-year-old dog?

A new puppy could be tough for your elderly dog to get used to. He can become irritated by a young whippersnapper’s great energy and fun attacks and strike back. Keep an eye out for dementia in your dog. He might begin to lose track of instructions or other programmed behavior he learned when he was younger.

Why does the spine of my elderly dog stick out?

Spondylosis in dogs is typically brought on by ordinary wear and tear on the ligament fibers that join the ends of the vertebral bodies and the intervertebral discs. The body tries to make up for the instability brought on by stress and pressure by forming additional bone (bone spurs) on the ends of the vertebrae, but this only serves to delay the inevitable “span the chasm.

What am I referring to here? Bone spurs can enlarge to the point where they touch other spurs nearby and connect to form a bridge. This is recognized as “spanning the spondylosis. These bridges most frequently grow along the lumbar spine in the lower back, but they can also develop along the vertebrae in the middle of the back, the thoracolumbar spine.

Is a dog 16 years old?

Depending on his size, a 16-year-old dog is roughly similar to an 80- to 123-year-old human. Your dog is moving more slowly and resting more than he did in his younger years, just like senior people. He can also be displaying cognitive decline symptoms.

How do you care for a dog that is 10 years old?

Adult dogs and puppies need different care than geriatric pets need. Additionally, you will need to take a few different steps to maintain your senior dog’s health in order to give them the finest senior dog care possible.

Age-appropriate diet

Even as your dog ages, keeping their health depends greatly on a healthy diet. Given that they no longer possess the same levels of energy, older dogs are more likely to become obese.

In order to avoid weight gain, it is crucial to choose the best dog food that is especially made for senior dogs. These frequently include less fat and calories, which will supplement your dog’s nutritional requirements.

Additionally, as senior dogs frequently encounter various health issues, you can speak with a veterinarian to determine whether your dog requires a specific kind of senior dog food.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise will improve your dog’s general health while assisting them in maintaining their desired weight. In light of your dog’s health and physical restrictions, you might speak with your veterinarian and ask for a suggested exercise regimen.

Be patient, start out cautiously, and increase your dog’s stamina with frequent walks and, if they can run, brisk jogs. Even though your dog was able to run for 30 minutes earlier, they may not be able to do so as they age because older dogs have decreased energy levels.

Using interactive laser toys, you can still exercise your dog even if you have to leave them alone. A built-in pet-safe laser toy in the Petcube Play 2 interactive pet camera can be operated from your phone or put in automatic mode to keep your pet entertained while you’re away.

In addition, the camera offers 2-way audio, 1080p HD video, 160 full-room views, night vision, sound and motion alerts, and other features that let you check in on and show your cat some love from anywhere.

Regular vet checkups

One of the most crucial aspects of caring for senior pets is routine vet treatment. Your dog’s immune system deteriorates with age, making them more susceptible to illnesses of many kinds.

Because of this, the majority of veterinarians advise bringing an older dog in for regular examinations every six months. This will give your veterinarian an opportunity to determine if anything is amiss right away and provide your dog the best care possible.

Online vet services may be able to assist you get your dog checked without putting them through undue stress if they experience anxiety every time you take them to the clinic.

You may video call or chat with licensed veterinarians whenever you want with Online Vet by Petcube, a round-the-clock online veterinary service. Simply open the Petcube app to instantly connect with a veterinarian. You never have to worry about not being able to reach a vet when your dog needs one because they are available around-the-clock.