Dogs are one of the most beloved pets. Due to the loyalty and unending friendship they offer a human, they are most sought out animals for pets. They are very responsive to love, care and training. They often become an integral part of the family with which they live, in fact they become a family member. And just like any other living thing, their lives draw to an ending point. As sad is it may sound, it is inevitable. But most people, due to their lack of knowledge, do not know how to make a dog live longer, and how to make its senior years as fun as the young years.
Many owners not only don’t know how to handle their dog’s aging behavior, but they also are not aware of how to take care of an aging dog. Old age is inevitable, and one must understand that it is not an ailment. It is in fact a part of life which the owner as well as the dog must learn to navigate. To help your dog go through its old age comfortably many things can be done. With proper diet, exercise, training, and environment, even old age can be as fun as the younger days.
Special Measures for Aging Dogs
To deal with the dog’s old age, you need to start observing as soon you start suspecting that your dog is now growing old. One of the greatest sign in an aging dog is that they either feel too hot or too cold. These temperature changes can wreak havoc with the dog’s behavior. They become less able to cope with temperature changes. Therefore, even if you may find the temperature pleasant, and not too cold, your dog may be feeling very cold. Therefore, it is important to keep him covered at night, and not leave him out for too long in the cold weather. Similarly, extreme care has to be taken in spring and summer. You need to keep your dog hydrated as much as possible. Also, keep their kennel in a cool shady place, probably under a large tree or indoors if you do not have many outdoor options.
Similarly, another great sign of aging is heavy panting and tiring out quickly. To keep a strong heart and lungs which can function better, especially in changing weather, it is important you take care of your dog’s physical activity. Instead of taking your dog for the usual long morning walk, divide the walk time into smaller, shorter time periods. In summer, be sure to do this at the cooler time of the day. This way, not only does the dog have a healthy respiratory and circulatory system, but also stronger limbs. Another way to ensure this is to give your dog special senior dog diet, which is low in fats as compared to normal ones. Less weight means less strain on the heart, as well as the limbs and bones. Also get the food checked by the vet before you actually give it to your dog.
Illness in an Aging Dog
Dogs are more prone to cancer as they age. Therefore, you need to keep an eye out for any kind of recurring sickness. Now, how you deal with cancer is up to you. If you can afford the treatment, and of there is actually a valid chance of your dog being alive, then you should go for it. But you must remember that you may be also prolonging your dog’s suffering and pain in case of cancer.
Another illness that dogs often face is a disease called cognitive dysfunction. This is very much like Alzheimer’s. There is no cure for such diseases, and you can only wait it out patiently. Patience means that you must not let go of your affection, love and care at any point.
Dog arthritis is also a problem in aging dogs. But arthirits usually happens due to some kind of bone problem that has occurred in the early years, such as misshapen bones or soft bones.
Extra Love for an Ageing Dog
This is one point where everyone will happily oblige. A dog is a part of your household, a member of your family, and just like you would nurse a sick child or an old parent, you would extend the same treatment to your dog. You have to maintain your level of patience and become even more affectionate with him. You must not scold or punish him for any eccentricities or behavioral problems he exhibits. You have to remember that he is now an old dog, and his mental abilities are slowly fading away. Therefore, he may forget any training that he was given.
You need to give more time to your dog. This way the old age of your dog will be peaceful and beautiful. By spending more time with your dog, you can try to retain the training, and other things that the dog has learnt long ago. Also, you can make sure that you dog’s senior days are happy and energetic, and not lethargic and lonely.
Preparing Yourself to Let the Dog Go
This is the part of a dog’s old age where you have to prepare yourself more than your dog. Your dog has become a part of your family. A bond was formed the moment you brought your pup home. Since then he has grown and matured with you. It has seen atleast ten years of your life go by. It has been with you through bad relationships, through marriage and birth of your kids and through the ups and down of your career. It can be pretty painful and sad to think of an end to your ever faithful companion. But it is the unavoidable truth. And you need to prepare yourself mentally for it, to prevent yourself from falling into depression. It may sound a bit farfetched to say that the death of one’s dog can cause depression, but it is the reality for many people.