Aging Gracefully Part 3

28-dog-exercise-280812How do you treat your aging dog? Have you changed the way you interact with him or her? The key to dealing with an aging dog is not to treat him with kid gloves. Your dog is not aware that he is aging and can become anxious over the change in your relationship.

Older dogs may be dealing with loss of vision, loss of hearing, stiff joints and/or a multitude of other symptoms. One of the best things you can do for your aging dog is to keep his home and environment stable. The more your dog can rely on things being stable, the more your dog will be able to relax as they grow older.

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep giving your pet attention, but tailor exactly what it is you are doing. Keep exercising your dog, but you may want to change it to be more low impact, such as a slow walk instead of a run. Take your dog for shorter walks or swims to keep his weight down and joints flexible. As you would when you are exercising, think about warm-up and cool-down periods. This will help your aging dog ease in and out of exercise. If you can tell your pet is having discomfort after exercise, you can apply ice to their joints. It will help alleviate some of his discomfort.

As your dog starts to slow down physically, you need to ensure that he is being mentally stimulated. Think up new ways to challenge your dog, for instance, hide treats around the house for him to find. You can also play slow catch where you roll the ball instead of throwing. The ultimate goal is to keep your dog feeling like you still love him and want to play with him.  You can “teach an old dog new tricks!”

We have found two fantastic articles that go in depth on how to exercise an arthritic dog and how to change things up for an older pet. These articles can be invaluable to you as your dog ages. Always feel free to call Animal Care Clinic if you have any questions about your aging dog or other pet.

Please post your thoughts and/or ideas on great suggestions that have worked for your aging dog. Here at Animal Care Clinic, we love to hear from you!

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