Like people, dogs will go through stages of growth, maturity, and aging. Time passes for them as well as for ourselves and this can often be over-looked. Pet guardians must be vigilant and recognize the signs of aging in the dog.
An observant family will know that their dog has slowed down in the past year and that he/she is stiff in the mornings. Maybe they don’t jump up as fast as they use to or want to walk or play quite as much. They see that pet is no longer an eager eater and sleeps more deeply and longer than usual.
Fatty tumors may develop under the skin, or you may notice that your pet is more startled by loud noises. Aging in pets, as we adults also experience, is a gradual process. Organs begin to deteriorate, senses begin to decline, and energy begins to slow down. They can however, if love and cared for, be kept happy and comfortable in their senior years.
Old age comes at different times for different breeds of dogs and different individual dogs. Giant breeds tend to age early, for their life expectancy is generally less than 10 years. Large and medium-sized breeds have a life expectancy of 12-15 years, while smaller breeds can often live quite a bit longer, 15 years or more.
If you have adopted or rescued a dog from a sanctuary or pet shelter when they were older and not in prime condition, good nutrition is of ultimate importance. You should speak to your vet immediately and get your pet on the right and proper road to good health and nutrition. Remember quality food for your pet may save you a fortune on vet bills later.
Good nutrition is vital to a pets health at any age. Exercise is also important in keeping your dog in good shape. You may think your fat pooch looks cute and you feel it is not fair to put them on a diet.
Too many of those treats you think your dog can’t live without may be harmful to them, especially when you see them putting on extra pounds. You might want to cut back on the treats and speak to your vet about the weight gain. You may have your little companion a lot longer if he/she slims down and gets a regular walk around the block. A nice brisk walk will keep you both in shape
Don’t scold, discipline, or punish your pet for lapses in house training or for nipping a toddler who wakes him/her from a deep sleep. Avoid the situations when possible and deal with them when they happen, but do so without anger.
As with elderly people forgive your pet if he/she forgets their manners or house training.
Like people, your pet will have special requirements, special consideration and love and understanding. They may need to be awakened from time-to-time during the day to go outside; or if you can, train them to use a doggie door to go out back to relieve themselves in your absence.
They need your love and understanding in their golden years too. With your care, understanding and observation, your aging pet will continue to bring joy to the family for years to come.
Written by Mel Moore for the 50 PLUS REPORT Online Magazine.
Article Courtesy of 50 PLUS REPORT Editorial Team