How to Treat an Aging Dog

American author Agnes Sligh Turnbull once said “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” It’s a poignant quote, and the truth is our four-legged companions really don’t live long enough. To be fair, caring for them properly to ensure their longevity and a place at our side occurs from the time that they are born until they enter a ripe old age. This post informs you on how to best treat an aging dog.

Start Early with Proper Breeding

Did you know that how you care and treat an aging dog has a good bit to do with breeding, as a lot of their ailments when they get older have a lot to do with their parents and even their grandparent’s lineage? For instance, when a German Shepherd is bred from robust familial bloodlines, it’s known as line breeding.

Reputable breeders will let you see the parent’s and sometimes even the grandparent’s papers with line breeding. Adopting a German Shepherd puppy with the parents unseen can lead to hip dysplasia and health problems later in German Shepherds and other large breeds.

The point here is not to steer you away from adopting from places like the humane society, as many fine pedigreed dogs and mutts there need homes. In fact, many pound pups live as long as they are supposed to and without any abnormal health problems. However, do familiarize yourself deeply with a breed’s unique health characteristics before bringing your newest family member into your home.

Prevention Goes a Long Way

There are several easy things you can do to prolong your pet’s life, such as providing a healthy diet and getting regular veterinary health checks throughout their life. The following aging dog care tips work to make an all-around happier and healthier dog.

dog with owner on bench

Give them Premium Dog Food

Several dog food trends, such as raw food and making food from scratch, are making their rounds. While that is an excellent, proactive approach, serving them to your dog all the time can be kind of pricey. Instead, you can opt for giving Fido a good, premium dog food instead. Premium dog food includes vitamin-packed fruit & vegetables, meat for protein and the omega fatty acids that are needed for shiny coats. Try to steer clear of dog kibble that contains fillers such as corn, soy and wheat.

Supplement their Diet

Herbal supplements may work to give your pet anything from nutrition that may be lacking in their diet to calming them down, to giving them relief from pain and discomfort. However, all of them are not created equal, and you will need to work with your veterinarian to find the right solution for your furry companion.

On the other hand, vets often get product-based compensation, so remember that the next time yours prescribes something like glucosamine. You can actually get glucosamine from safe and natural sources like chicken feet and bone broth stew.

Use Alternative Therapies

When it comes to soothing your dog or easing their discomfort, painkilling drugs can have harsh and serious side effects. There are sometimes alternatives to them you can get, especially if you think outside of the box. Here are three to consider:

  1. CBD Oil: Research indicates that CBD oil can be safely used to treat dogs for anxiety, chronic pain and epilepsy. You can visit Green Cuisine’s CBD Drops Shop for Dogs, to learn more about how CBD oil works for your dog.
  2. Yunnan Baiyao: Older dogs are more prone to cancers, and Yunnan Baiyao is a traditional Chinese medicine you can get over the counter that can help with symptoms. Studies have shown that Yunnan Baiyao is effective for wound healing, pain relief, and for stopping tumours from bleeding.
  3. LED Light Therapy: Developed by NASA, LED light therapy is another highly efficacious treatment for pets. You may be surprised to learn that some veterinarians, pet owners and animal naturopaths have already started using this light therapy for different animal species, including dogs. Some of the different pet health issues it helps with are:
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Wounds & cuts
    • Diabetic neuropathy
    • Infections
    • Inflammation
    • Ligament & tendon injuries
    • Muscle regeneration

Watch Out for Recalls

Another way of keeping your pet safe and healthy is by keeping an eye out for dog food recalls, and even the more popular brands have been recalled for dangerous ingredients. If you live in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is an excellent resource to use to find out about the latest pet food recalls. If you live outside of the U.S., there are many veterinary medical associations that list recent product recalls.

Take Them to Regular Vet Visits

Regular visits with your veterinarian throughout your dog’s life can assist in keeping their health on track and catch health issues early on. During the appointment, the doctor will do things, such as giving your pup disease-preventing inoculations, cleaning their teeth, and prescribing you anti-parasitic medicine such as flea and heartworm medicine.

The veterinarian will also discuss changes in your dog’s weight and behavior with you. Aging dog behavior and changes in their weight can be especially telling, and you will change treatment tactics and level of care when the tell-tale signs of an aging dog manifest.

Aging Dog Behaviour

The Golden Years with your pup brings the coziness of routine, relaxation, and tranquil companionship.

Sadly, the struggles associated with their advanced age come with it, and you’ll likely notice your dog’s energy declining, along with their mood over time. There are just no anti-aging dog miracles out there, and taking care of them becomes more challenging. As a loving dog owner, you can rise up to the task with a few helpful tips.

What follows are some common behaviors you can expect to see with your senior dog, along with how you can adjust and navigate their treatment:

  • Exercise: Exercise is good for canines of all ages, and a senior dog needs to get a regular walk during the week. Heart and lung functioning worsen in older dogs, too, so it’s best to moderate their walks by keeping them short.
  • Padding: The elbows and legs of senior dogs are more prone to soreness and injury. Hygromas are a type of boil that commonly develops on older dog’s elbows when they lay on hard surfaces. A shoulder sleeve with elbow guards cushions and prevents them from forming. Also, therapeutic braces work well for dogs with joint pain and arthritis.
  • Temperature: Older dogs, due to changes in their metabolism, are typically more sensitive to extreme temperature changes. When it’s cold, give them something like a blanket or coat to keep them warm. Don’t leave them outside for a long time in cold or hot weather days, either. Be particularly vigilant on extremely hot days, as your pooch can dehydrate easily.
  • Diet: Make sure your senior dog’s diet is appropriate by checking with your veterinarian before introducing any new chow into their pet bowl. Also, discuss any weight gain noticed in your dog with the doctor since extra weight may adversely affect their joint health or give them heart problems. Your vet can tell you the right amount of food to give them to maintain a healthy weight.

Final Thoughts

We, as pet owners, want to make the most of our dog’s time on earth and ensure that they are given a long a life as possible. Our tips for how to treat an aging dog in this post can provide a strong baseline for their care, but yours may have some special needs that you will need to discuss with your veterinarian. Fortunately, with the right amount of love, attention and elderly dog care, your fur buddy will lead a happy and healthy life for several years to come.


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