When your puppy first comes home little do you fathom that one day he will become old.. The key to their long life is the little care we have to take as they are small and playful in the puppy stage. Canines are considered to be going towards old age when they enter their seventh year. They usually have a life span of 12 to 15 years or longer. The minute details and care along the journey of your little puppy towards his old age can help him survive his old age with much ease.
When the canines are young they can be molded and taken care of rather than treating canines in their old age. They are more responsive and sharp as young puppies than in their old age when their sharpness is deteriorating and their senses are less accurate. So it is the job of the owners to pay heed to the minute details that could help your canine in the long run.
It’s always advisable to have a complete checkup of your dog from the local vet and get a heads up on how healthy your dog is. Usually the major tension is about your canine having an ailment. Similar to us humans, dogs too in their old age are more susceptible to contradicting diseases. Even the common cold and fever affect them due to their low immunity. The most common problems are arthritis, heart failure, kidney failure, cancer of various forms and dental diseases.
Arthritis and other joint problems are very common. Smaller breed dogs are not prone to these types of diseases as compared to the larger breed dogs. The large breed dogs are more volatile to weakening of bones and joint problems. It is necessary to give them calcium supplements along with their regular food. It is better to consult the doctor before providing these supplements. This will ensure them healthy bones in their old age.
One more important factor is the diet taken by the older dogs. Their digestive system also tends to break down the food at a much lower rate than that in usual dogs. Hence like puppies require a special food to suit their growing bodies. The older dogs also require special food for their kind of body. The food should be easily digestible but also provide the necessary nutrition for the canines. These food also have low fat and calories since obesity is also an issue with the older dogs. They become less active and more lethargic leading to them gaining a few extra pounds.
Keeping your dog active is another key point in making their shelf life longer and their old age healthier. However expecting them to be as active as a puppy would be expecting a camel to pass through a needle hole! Walks should be a part of the daily routine. If they get tired, it’s alright to give them a few minutes to catch up on their breath. You can also throw a ball or Frisbee because dogs usually love playing fetch no matter how young or old they are! However do not over exert them or make them dog tired!
During the summer season avoid taking them for walks in the heat. Try taking them out in the early morning and evenings so that they don’t get heated up and they will get exhausted too quickly. Extreme climates also take a toll on the health of the older dogs. During winters make sure that there are extra blankets to tuck them in at night. The older dogs will find extreme cold climates excruciatingly troublesome if they are suffering from joint pains already. Pay close attention to them as they might be prone to the regular ailments like cold and fever. Although these are regular ailments they will affect them drastically. And sometimes these ailments may be an indication of other ailments too.
Your pets are no longer little anymore however that doesn’t mean you stop loving them. All these steps will help you and your canine enjoy each other’s company for longer periods. The most important of all is to regularly take your pets to the vet, atleast twice in a year because if there is any issue, it will be detected and solved at the earliest. The vet will be a better option than to wait for physical changes to be noticed by our naked eyes.
‘Cherish all your happy moments, they make a fine cushion for old age’ was rightly phrased by Christopher Morley. Your canines may not be very active and may not be enthusiastic as they were as puppies. But their love for you has only been multiplied by heaps and bounds. As the owner of this loving creature its only justified if you could reciprocate it with love and care for your canine in his old age. They may limp a little, have a slower rate of wagging their tail and even their face licks may have reduced but the relationship you both will be an unbreakable bond. People didn’t just come up with the phrase ‘Old is Gold’; of course they has a dog!