How To Care For Your Older Dog
What Can You Do To Care For Your Older Dog?
Your dog's breed will determine his or her expected lifespan. And of course, overall health. Some breeds are more likely to get certain ailments than others. Although nothing is inevitable!
But no matter what age your dog is. There's several ways you can help ensure his or her older years are full of love and life. Here's 4 top tips.
Tip 1 - Your Dog's Hearing
You may have noticed your dog's behaviours and attitudes change as the years go on. Watch out to see if your dog's hearing has changed. Like with people, some dogs go deaf. Or their hearing is affected in some way. This will mean that you need to be careful out on walks. Or when the doorbell goes. Or just in life generally. Does your dog know what's going on?
Don't assume because he or she did or didn't do things before that'll stay the same. If the hearing's affected it will make a difference to behaviours and attitudes.
Natural Care Tip: If your dog gets stressed or anxious because he can't hear as well as he used to. Then try aromatherapy, like Lavender. This is calming. Or Bach Flower Remedies can help with emotions.
Tip 2 - Your Dog's Eyesight
Likewise, eyesight can be affected as a dog gets older. Dog's can get cataracts and other eye conditions too. A dog can't wear glasses though! But if you're concerned that his or her eye's aren't as bright as they should be. Or perhaps your dog is walking into doors, tables or gets scared by certain sudden movements (like balls being thrown).
It's possible to have veterinary surgery if required to help with eye complaints. Your vet can advise.
Natural Care Tip: You'll find some herbal remedies like "Eyebright" can help with soothing eye conditions. Bilberries are reputed to help with eye health too. Homeopathy can also be used to help with eye health.
Tip 3 - Your Dog's Kidneys
As your dog gets older, his or her kidneys may need some extra support to keep healthy. Kidney disease affects dogs. Once they have it it can't be reversed. But it can be managed. Let your dog drink as much as possible.
Your dog tastes may change as he or she ages. So whereas a bowl of water lasted all day before. Now it doesn't. And your dog now wants fresh water throughout the day. So after a couple of hours throw out the water and give him or her new fresh water.
This may seem hard work to some. But to me, if it helps keep my dog happy and healthy i'll do it. Why not??!
Note, your dog may want or need to go to the toilet more often. If he or she is drinking more this is normal. And helps the kidneys function. So be prepared for extra trips to the door to let him/her out.
Natural Care Tip: Cranberries are renowned for helping with urinary issues. So together with other herbs, can be used to support urinary and kidney health.
Tip 4 - Walking Your Dog
When your dog was younger, chances are you had long walks. With lots of runs. Games and generally a lot of time outdoors moving about. As he gets older, then your dog may want shorter walks. But walking is still important. It not only provides good exercise, but a chance for mental stimulation as seeing/hearing and sniffing different things is great.
But be sure why your dog wants shorter walks. Don't assume it's inevitable. Make sure that there are no corns in the feet. Or there's not another health issue like arthritis. These things can be treated and managed!
Get your veterinary surgeon to check your dog, if he struggles to walk too far. If there is a reason such as arthritis then you can help with natural therapies. Or if your dog is just needing to take longer to warm up and get going. Then therapies can help too, as part of maintaining healthy muscles.
Natural Care Tip: Physiotherapy and massage are two great complementary therapies to help keep your dog mobile. These maybe useful as a regular (monthly or so) treatment to keep muscles and joints moving. And if there is arthritis then they can help too. Herbal remedies such as Aloe Vera and Devil's Claw can also help with arthritis.
You can also try holistic approaches, like buying a suitably sized "stroller" to take your dog out. These aren't a good idea for a whole walk, as your dog needs to get out and exercise his muscles/joints, and go to the toilet and sniff about. BUT they can help you manage to access the beach or "off road" where your dog can have better surface or more enjoyable walks.
Lastly, remember if you're concerned about your dog's health, then get proper qualified veterinary surgeon advice before trying any complementary therapy or supplement.
Find out more about dozens of natural animal therapies here at Taranet. Or read other articles in this Natural Pet Health Blog. Take a look at the sitemap here to explore how complementary therapies can help your animal!
About the Author
Suzanne Harris is founder of this Taranet website at www.taranet.co.uk. And also provides business coaching to horse and dog care and veterinary professionals. Plus sells a large range of aloe vera healthcare for people and animals.
If you've any questions please email info at taranet.co.uk