As our beloved mutts age, it is essential for pet owners to become more aware of the needs of their senior dogs. Implementing healthy habits is the key to your mutts' (and you as a pet owner) quality life, especially for the latter years. While different dogs may require different needs, below are a few tips as to how to keep your senior dog healthy:
- Healthy, appropriate diet - Feeding your old mutt a high-quality diet can significantly help with their bodily health. If your dogs have heart disease, giving them a dog food that has lower sodium levels will help. Foods that have controlled levels of calcium, phosphorus, or other electrolytes are ideal for mutts that have kidney disease. Consult your trusted vet to see which diets are appropriate for your mutts.
- Weight control - Exercising your senior dog is just as important to weight control as watching what you feed them. Even though your aging mutts may not be as energetic or speedy as when they were a pup, consistent exercise is still going to help maintain their healthy weight, joints, and muscles. Being overweight is extremely harmful to dogs' bone structures which often result in hip dysplasia.
- Dental care - Not taking care of your mutts' teeth and gums at an early age is one of the biggest mistakes pet owners make, and they usually don't realize it until it is too late. Dental disease is painful and usually causes your dogs to loose its teeth when they get old (some even get diagnosed as early as 2-3 years old!). This may cause your senior mutt to stop eating overall and result in unhealthy weight loss.
- Regular vet visits - Taking your senior dog to the vet at least yearly is critical even if they appear healthy (more needed visits for unhealthy dogs). It is also smart to ask for a body condition evaluation each time to make sure that there are no hidden signs of major illnesses. Remember, health prevention is a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than disease treatments!