Our dogs’ life expectancies have grown considerably in the past decades thanks to improvements in diet and the medicalisation and evolution of scientific knowledge. Even though ageing remains a fatality, it is important to keep in mind that old age does not necessarily mean illness! Prevention becomes more important with age… It is therefore absolutely required that you have your veterinarian perform regular check-ups.
You can give your dog a small boost. Indeed, the organs become old and less performant with age. Your companion may become stiff, less happy or lose muscle mass, have less appetite or be tired faster, or cry without any reason at night. Finally, kidneys also start needing support after a certain number of years.
In ageing animals, it is important to complement diet with essential fatty acids and antioxidants, in particular.
Aging is a stage that all living things must go through, including your dog. Aging brings about physiological, anatomical, psychological changes and certain shortcomings in our four-legged friends.
Old age does not always mean illness, however, it is a process that can make your dog more fragile. If it is impossible to rejuvenate your companion, a few precautions can keep him healthy, and for a long time!
Observe and analyze the different changes
The appearance of graying hair, loss of muscle mass, weight gain … So many factors determine that adult dogs enter the last third of their life. Note, however, that these changes may be due to illness or other external factors. It is then necessary to consult your veterinarian regularly to make sure that everything is fine.
Aging is not the same for all dogs. Thus a dog’s size and breed are important parameters in determining when to enter senior age. Large dogs age much faster than small-sized breeds.
Regardless of physical changes, also monitor your pet’s behavior. If he gets tired very quickly, is less playful than usual, it is very likely that he is aging. On the other hand, keep an eye on his state of health. The pathology of the elderly dog is dominated by diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, cataracts etc.
Review your diet and activities
An aging dog will have specific nutritional needs. Calorie intake often needs to be reduced, while while some nutrients need to be decreased, others need to be increased.
Essential fatty acids promote better brain health and help fight possible cognitive changes caused by old age, they also play an important role in mobility. Antioxidants are beneficial to elderly animals and help strengthen the natural defenses. Vitamin and mineral intakes must be adapted according to the specific needs of each senior dog.
In order not to gain weight, and to keep in good shape, dogs who are getting older must be stimulated. It is advisable to take them for regular short walks.