Older dogs are more common today than ever before due to better vaccines, better nutrition, and better health care; however, despite these advantages, older dogs have specific needs that must be met to insure continued health. As a dog ages he begins to experience hearing, vision, and dental problems.
He may undergo behavioral changes associated with arthritis and cognitive dysfunction. He may experience periods of disorientation, have accidents, and lose his tolerance. He may become less active and lose muscle and his organs could begin to fail. Although we can't prevent these maladies all together, we can be ready for them and address the issues as they come.
Everybody would rather see a fat dog rather than a skinny one, unfortunately fat is unhealthy. The best thing you can do for your older dog is to watch his diet. If your pet has a tendency to be overweight, weight loss will be difficult, but you should continue trying. Make sure he's eating a low calorie, low protein and high fiber diet.
What Other Types of Things Happen to Older Dogs?
While some people struggle with obesity in their elderly pets others struggle with the opposite. Many older dogs have trouble holding weight. Dental problems often make eating painful; changing to a softer food such as canned food or softening the food with broth helps tremendously.
Older dogs can experience trouble with their vision, along with their hearing. In this way, they can be quite similar to humans as they get older. It's always a good idea to bring your dog to a vet every year so these items can be watched and monitored.
Also, an older dog who has become less active will have often developed arthritis. This can make it very painful to run as they once did. This can make it tough to do something as basic as going to the bathroom. Because of this, it is vital that you are patient and kind, in order to help them as it isn’ their fault. Your beloved dog is simply getting older as we all must.
Many elderly animals simply don't have an appetite. In cases such as this a change in diet is recommended. A home made diet of milk, eggs, rice potatoes, hamburger, chicken and vegetable fortified with the correct vitamin and mineral supplements usually tweaks the dog's appetite. People have found changing from canned dog food to canned cat food also helps.
The day to day aches and pains older dogs must endure can usually be controlled by supplements. Glucosamine and Chondroitin lubricate joints easing the pain of arthritis. A diet high in fiber controls constipation. Without these nagging pains older dogs are able to get the exercise they need in order to stay healthy.
The most important part of maintaining the health of your older dog is regular veterinary care. With regular visits many of these problems can be diverted before compromising your pet's health.
Mike Long runs a dog training website that focuses on educating people about the different ways of training your dog or puppy. If you would like to learn more, including additional articles, and training tips, tricks, and ideas, check out his site at http://dogtraininginfo.wordpress.com