woman with her dog

Adopting a Senior Dog: How to Care for an Older Pet

Animal shelters are filled with senior dogs that also want to be loved and to belong in a family. However, due to their special needs, fewer people are willing to adopt a senior dog.

If you are looking for a pet, it is worth considering adopting a dog that is approaching its twilight years. Although less energetic than a puppy, they will still give you so much happiness. Thanks to the advancement in veterinary medicine, seniors dogs can spend more years being your loyal companion.

Teach Your Senior Dog New Things

According to a popular saying, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. This is not entirely accurate. Although due to health problems, the list of actions they can perform is limited, seniors dogs can still gain new abilities.

Ask an experienced dog trainer for help. It might be a little more challenging than training pups. You would need a lot of patience to teach a senior dog. However, it is very possible.

There are plenty of reasons why you should train your senior dog. It keeps them entertained as well as promote physical activity. Moreover, learning new tricks keep their brain more pliant. The brains of dogs need to be exercised, too, to prevent cognitive decline — just like humans.

Learning new tricks will improve a dog’s quality of life.

Take Things Slow

Your senior dog will still love to walk in parks with you. They, too, need physical activity in order to stay healthy. However, you will need to decrease your pace so your senior can keep up and follow a shorter route so they would not feel exhausted.

Swimming is also a great low-impact physical activity for dogs. It exercises their entire body but also provides comfort to their joints.

Remember to check the weather outside before you take your senior dog out for a walk or a swim. Older dogs are more sensitive to changes in temperature. If it is too hot or too cold, it may not be comfortable for them to be outside.

dog eating from a food bowl

Provide Healthy Meals

Aging dogs have different nutritional needs. As pups, they might enjoy chowing down anything you put inside their bowl. However, in their twilight years, you should be more careful about what you give them.

Senior dogs should have low-calorie meals to prevent obesity. Yes, dogs, too, suffer from obesity which can lead to a myriad of other health problems. It is also important that your senior dog gets enough fiber to maintain gastrointestinal health.

Dogs that have specific conditions also have different needs. Talk to your vet about it.

Visit the Vet Regularly

Senior dogs are more at risk of developing illnesses. However, they would not be able to tell you when they do feel bad. You may notice changes in their behavior and movement if there is something wrong.

That is why it is important that your senior dog gets a thorough check-up at least once every six months. The vet will be able to address any ailment so that your senior dog is not in any pain. It also prevents any serious illnesses so that you and your senior dog can spend more happy years together.

Senior dogs will give you love and loyalty if you give them a chance and welcome them into your home. Do not be afraid and adopt a senior dog from your local shelter now.

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