Caring for the older dog

By Kaytie Grant

If you follow the Facebook page IWCT Philippines, you will see we have been sharing tips on caring for the older dog. We’ve summarised them here in this blog. Please have a read to help keep your older dog in optimal health. 

Our 10 tips:

  1. Schedule regular visits to the vet. Having regular check ups will spot signs of deterioration faster, so your dog can be treated more promptly.
  2. Adjust their diet. Older dogs tend to have a slower metabolism, so you may need to feed less to prevent weight gain. They are likely to require a diet higher in protein to maintain muscle function but less carbohydrate if they are less active.
  3. Keep them hydrated. Older dogs are more prone to dehydration, so it is very important to allow access to clean water at all times.
  4. Provide joint support. Joint supplements may help with weaker joints in the older dog. A comfy bed can also help relieve pressure and soothe aches and pains
  5. Maintain physical activity. Regular walks will provide enrichment and prevent weight gain. Just be mindful of your older dog’s capabilities, so walks may need to be shorter or lead time may need to be increased.
  6. Improve accessibility with steps or a ramp. Older dogs sometimes require assistance and one such way are steps leading up to the sofa or bed (if you allow them on your furniture!) or a ramp to get into the car to save them from jumping up and down from a height which could put strain on their joints.
  7. Brush their teeth regularly. Older dogs can suffer from gingivitis – a form of tooth decay. Brushing their teeth will help prevent this and also allow you the time to detect bigger problems such as rotting teeth, which may require veterinary attention.
  8. Keep their coat healthy. Regular coat grooming will help remove dead hair and also allows for an enriching time to bond with your dog. 
  9. Provide mental stimulation. If your older dog is unable to be quite so physically active, mental stimulation can help fill the void. Puzzle games, snuffle mats and kongs are examples of this. 
  10. Keep vaccinations up to date. An older dog may have a weakened immune system so protect them from diseases by keeping up with their vaccinations.

Lastly:

Most importantly, be patient with your dog. Understand that changes in behaviour and mobility are due to the ageing process. Be there for them, reassure them and adjust life to make them as happy and comfortable as possible. 

If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight, mental or physical health, don’t hesitate to reach out. Seek advice from a qualified veterinarian. Our consultation clinic in Concepcion Tarlac is open every Tuesday morning at the Treatment Centre. Pets are seen on a first come, first served basis but no appointment necessary. 

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