May is National Older Americans Month, so let’s talk about senior dogs! There are a lot of misconceptions about senior dogs and their needs. Some people aren’t sure how to care for their older dogs and don’t know their new needs. Senior dogs still need exercise, socialization and engagement. Activity and mental stimulation are good for their mental health and can help their overall health. Here are some things to consider about senior dogs.
Senior Dogs Need Exercise
People have a common misconception that when dogs get older, they don’t need any more walks or exercise. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Senior dogs still need exercise. Physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s no different for old dogs. The duration and intensity of exercise are not the same as when they were younger, but short walks around the neighbourhood and time outdoors can do them good. Exercise helps blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. Being consistent with exercise can improve cognitive function and body functions, not to mention it can help senior dogs prevent weight gain.
Senior Dogs Need Engagement
Senior dogs may have less energy once they get older, but they still need engagement. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity. Engaging with your senior dog by playing games or buying toys can help improve their state of mind and general mood. With age, we all slow down, even our beloved dogs. This is why it’s essential to keep them engaged daily with activity. The phrase ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ couldn’t be further from the truth. With patient training and time, you can still teach your old friend a new trick and help their mind stay on track.
Senior Dog Food
As our dogs get older, their nutritional needs change as well. You’ll notice that pet stores and brands have sections and formulas specifically for senior food. Senior dog food tends to have more moisture in it. The moisture helps our old friends chew and process their food better. The nutritional values of the ingredients used are also different to support the things that older dogs need more of. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about the best senior dog food for their breed and health needs.
Socialization and Company
You may notice that older dogs sleep a lot. They prefer a day to lounge around and observe the world and those around them. With this being said, dogs enjoy your company doing everything and anything. Socializing your older dog with other dogs and people will do them good. Remember to be sure you know who you are introducing them to. Some older dogs may not tolerate or like the high energy of younger jumpy dogs and humans. Be sure the dogs and people you introduce to them will get along with your dog’s temperament. Older dogs tend to get needier, so they will appreciate your company and the company of others so much more.
Make Every Moment Count
As our dog’s age, our time with them gets shorter. For National Older Americans Month, let’s make every moment with our dogs count. They’ve been in our lives for years, and as family, we must do everything to care for them and help them be comfortable in their old age. Remember to ask your veterinarian for any advice about senior pet care. If you have any senior pets living at home that need short walks during the day, be sure to check out Citizen Canine. We offer dog walking services to keep your old boy or gal entertained!