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As our pets age we want to make their golden years truly golden. But sometimes the way we show them love is actually shortening their lives; extra treats, excusing them from exercise, things like that. Pet Sugar suggests that nurturing an old dog in the proper way will actually make his last years more comfortable. Here are six of the best tips from Pet Sugar.
Nurturing an Old Dog
We remember fondly the tiny creatures we welcomed into our homes years ago, but the reality is that their bodies and minds are changing, and so too must their lifestyles. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your geriatric animal pals stay healthy and happy.
Sit and be fit. You may notice that your furry friend is less active these days. Understand that — just like grandpa — your pet is feeling his age, but this development does not excuse him from exercise. For dogs, daily walks relieve stiffness and limber up arthritic joints, but be prepared to turn for home when he exhibits signs of fatigue. Keep his reflexes sharp with a game of fetch or catch-the-laser-pointer, but tailor sessions to his mobility and energy limits.
A cloudy forecast. Many dogs and cats develop cataracts or other vision impairments as they age. Vets can treat your pet’s peepers through surgery, but it’s probably not necessary until his vision severely affects his quality of life. Until then, a few daily adjustments should make your pal’s life happy and safe. Dim lighting accentuates vision problems, so leave a light on in your pet’s favorite areas. Avoid major changes to the layout of your home: imagine if someone turned out the lights and rearranged your furniture!
Keep an eye on food intake. Just like humans, obese pets have shorter life spans than pets who maintain a healthy weight.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Although food intake may decrease, your pet may quickly become dehydrated if he doesn’t have access to plenty of water. Consider trading up to a pet fountain (which recirculates water, keeping it fresh all day) or place a few water bowls around the house near his favorite spots.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Of course, moisture in equals moisture out, and that water needs to go somewhere. The inconvenient truth: your pet will need more frequent potty breaks.
Don’t be a stranger to your vet. In the end, doctor knows best when it comes to your aging pal’s health. When Fluffy turns 7 or 8, request a baseline blood panel so that your vet can spot deviations later on.”
The word “nurture” means to care for and cherish. If you’re like me, that’s exactly what you want for your senior pooch. And when you think about it in those terms then you feel better about nurturing an old dog by maintaining a good dog diet and exercise routine and using love and cuddles as the ways you spoil her. Follow these tips from Pet Sugar and your old dog is sure to exhibit more youthful behavior than most dogs her age. How do you nurture your old friend? Share your tips below.