Old dogs are a wonder of nature. Some become more cuddly as the years go by, others “grouchy”. In any case, it is our duty to take care of them in the best possible way, to look after them and to keep an eye on them, especially if they live with younger and more exuberant dogs. We have listed some tips to do this in the best way.
Over the years the dog is likely to spend much more time resting than when he was younger. Putting extra pillows or extra beds scattered around the house will certainly be a welcome gift. Prefer surfaces that are as soft as possible, as they can become arthrotic as they age and lying on the floor could be difficult and more painful.
Stairs And Ramps
If your dog used to nap on the couch but you’ve seen him on the floor (maybe at the foot of the couch) for some time, he’s likely to have some difficulty climbing up. Even if the couch is off-limits these kind of ramps or stairs are also very useful to get in and out of the car. There are many of them on the market, foldable or fixed with a minimal footprint. It could be a good choice.
Changes In Diet
As for people, the caloric requirements of dogs change considerably as the years go by. Among other things, older dogs need more than some ingredients and less than others than in the past. Consult a vet to formulate an appropriate diet: you may not need to change the type of diet or brand of kibble at all, but sometimes you simply need to reduce the quantities in proportion to your dog’s calorie and nutritional needs.
Physical Activity And Stimulation
Just because he’s old doesn’t mean he has to sleep all day. It is one thing to fill the house with pillows to make it more comfortable, but do not underestimate that physical activity (naturally moderate) is essential to keep your muscles active and prevent them from atrophying due to lack of movement.
In addition to movement, mental stimuli are also quite important. Taking him out regularly, playing games, or even simply taking him out in the car with us while we do our daily chores will help him to get the right stimuli.
More Frequent Veterinary Checks
To tell the truth this last point is not exactly among the things that the dog will “appreciate” explicitly, but it is certain that his body will benefit from it and if he could do so he would thank you heartily. Small and large health problems can occur in the elderly dog, and it is therefore advisable to agree with your vet on the frequency of check-ups (even in the absence of obvious illnesses), so as to keep the situation under control and take some dangerous diseases in good time, or prevent them if possible.