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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Happy

Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy

The life expectancy of your senior pet is increasing as the quality of the healthcare available to them increases as well.  As pet owners, we also can significantly increase the quality and quantity of life years available to our best friends by adhering to the same principles that applies to humans: exercise, eat healthy, and de-stress.

Exercise and the Senior Dog

Keeping your senior pooch in an exercise program benefits them and you as well.  It is a great way to spend time with your dog keeping both you and him physically active and mentally stimulated, while helping to maintain an appropriate body weight.  Some of the best forms of activities for both of you are walking, hiking, low-level agility (stairs and ramping climbing), fetch and tug-of-war games.  Of course, before beginning any exercise program with your pup, you will need to consult your veterinarian to assess your pet’s fitness level.  Your senior pet may have age relates issues, such as arthritis, so it is best to start your exercise plan moderately, slowly building up the duration and frequency of your program.   Your senior pet is also more sensitive to weather, so you will have to pay particular attention to their hydration levels and their needs in severe hot and cold temperatures. 

Diet

The best food for any dog should be based on your dog’s health needs, weight, age and breed.   Selecting an appropriate, quality food for a senior dog is very critical in order to maintain proper weight and nutritional requirements.  A dog’s caloric intake decreases as it ages, so maintaining appropriate weight levels in a senior pet is most important.  A dog that is overweight is more subjected to many age-related health issues including heart, liver, kidney and joint disease.  A good rule of thumb is to always choose dog food and treats that are made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients that are sourced locally.  It is best to avoid feeding your dog food that is made with any of the following ingredients: fillers like corn and soy, by-products, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Again, you will want to consult with your veterinar ian to help you decide the best age-appropriate diet for your dog to help extend its life expectancy.

De-Stress

First up, learn to recognize the signs of when your dog is stressed.  As dogs get older their ability to handle stress decreases due to the fact that their aging body cannot react to changes in their environment as quickly as it could when they were younger.  One of the best ways to help your senior pup to live anxiety-free is to give them quiet-time of their own away from the bustle of household activities.  Also maintaining a regular schedule which includes: exercise, quality food, access to fresh water, frequent bathroom breaks, regular check-ups, and plenty of affection will help to alleviate stress as well.  

We at Pet Nibbles want you and your pet to have the best life ever. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle that includes exercise, a healthy diet, and a stress-free environment will extend the life expectancy of our furry friends.

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