What Your Senior Dog Wants You to Know

Watching your dog grow from a puppy with boundless energy to a senior citizen content to nap on the sofa can be bittersweet. It is important to remember that as your dog ages, his needs and some of his behavior will change. This does not mean that Rover is destined to stay on the sidelines during his golden years. It is especially important to remember that advancing age is not a disease. Your dog will experience changes, but with proper care, he can enjoy his senior status. However, he has a few things he would like you to know.

DEFINE A SENIOR-

When determining a dog’s age, we often use the proportion one human year equals seven dog years. While that is a reasonable estimation of your dog’s age, there are other factors to consider. For example, smaller breeds tend to age slower than large or extra-large dogs physically. So, while your Yorkie and your neighbor’s Great Dane may both be ten years old, the smaller dog is physically closer to middle-aged, and the larger dog is in his golden years. 

SLEEP CHANGES-

Do not be alarmed if your once playful pal is snoozing rather than sniffing for adventure. It is normal for a senior dog to sleep more than 12 hours a day. If your dog is lethargic or does not respond to treats or his favorite toy, you should consult your veterinarian. Fido may have an unknown issue such as arthritis or a thyroid problem. The veterinarian services st petersburg fl can run tests to detect a problem. Additionally, they have tips to help keep your dog happy and healthy at any age.

TIME TO PLAY-

While Fido may not enjoy a morning jog the way he once did, it is essential for your senior dog’s physical and mental health that he remains active and engaged. Veterinarians agree that you can and should teach your senior dog new things to engage his mind; try some new activities. There are many games and activities that your dog can enjoy.

• Hide and seek is a favorite that any dog who is still mobile will enjoy. Hide somewhere that your dog can access and call him to find you. Reward him with a treat and praise when he ‘wins.’

• A sniff and search game is easy for a senior dog to take part in and fun for him as well. Gather several small boxes and place them around your play area. Hide a treat under one box and bring your dog in the room to sniff for his reward.

• Puzzle games engage your dog’s mind. There are numerous games available that your dog will love.

Finally, never forget that the aging dog with the grey muzzle and slow gait is the same dog who has loved you with his whole heart for so many years. Be kind and affectionate with him. You will never regret it.