Tips for Managing the Older Dog

Managing the older pet



It’s A Dog’s Life

It seems that pets these days are living longer than ever thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and investment in care from animal owners. It is not unusual to see a dog that is in their teen years still active and relatively healthy. I say relatively because with age comes a few bumps in the road (so to speak). There are a variety of management techniques that can help families with older pets live an awesome quality of life through their golden years. Because that is what we all really want for our animal companions, isn’t it? We want them to have full and happy lives for the short time that they are with us.

1. Watch Their Weight!

Older dogs generally move less and have a slower metabolism than when they were younger. This means that they can pack on the pounds quickly. This can start a vicious cycle of gaining weight and then not moving well which leads to more weight gain and so on. Activity is important to weight management but the key to weight loss is controlling calories. Lean body condition is very important to general health, especially if there are mobility issues. With that thought in mind, make sure that the food that your geriatric companion is eating is of good quality, easy to digest, and not filled with empty calories from endless treats. Just like with humans, a healthy diet is important for basic wellness and a strong immune system.

2. Keep Them Moving.

Daily, regular exercise is important for mental stimulation as well as muscle strength. Muscle loss and hind end weakness are a common issue on our older pets. Give your animal companion a reason to get up and moving each day because once they go down (or don’t get up), things can progress quickly in a direction that we don’t want to go.
One option to consider is aqua therapy. Both the underwater treadmill and pool are great for holding on to muscle mass and for getting stiff joints moving again. Sessions every one to two weeks can set a healthy foundation for better walks at home. Remember the old saying, “A body in motion stays in motion”. Continue…