How to Keep Your Older Dog From Aging Too Fast

Lindsey ZimmermanDog Health

dreamstime_m_30203722_2Beauty counters are filled with creams, wands, and magic potions to help keep us younger looking. However, what’s more important than looking younger is feeling younger, so that no matter your age, you feel healthy and happy.

The same holds true for our dogs. As dog owners, we want to do everything we can to help our older dogs feel good as long as possible, even into their senior years. We spoil them, play with them, and coddle them when they are sick.

There’s always more that we could be doing and it’s never too late to bump up the level of care we provide for them.

Here are six tips to help assist keep your older dog healthy and by your side longer:

  • Weight. Like with humans, maintaining the optimal weight for your dog is very important. Obesity can severely decrease a dog’s life span and lead to cancer, diabetes, and orthopedic, digestive and respiratory problems as well. In fact, Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 53% of dogs are overweight or obese.  Solution: Talk to your vet about the amount of kibble you should be feeding your dog and avoid people food. Table scraps are often high in sugar and fats and can cause pancreatitis. Also, you might want to think about increasing your pet’s exercise routine. Be sure to check with your vet that the cause of the weight gain is not Cushing’s disease.
  • Neglecting your dog’s hygiene. Does your dog have breath that will knock you over? Did you know that periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs? In fact, veterinarians estimate that 85% of dogs over five years of age suffer from periodontal disease. How often do you brush your dog’s teeth? If the oral bacteria builds up in your dog’s mouth, it can lead to heart valve problems and kidney infections. Solution: Brush your dog’s teeth daily just like you do your own! Buy a special toothbrush for your dog and use dog toothpaste – it comes in liver, mint, chicken and peanut butter flavors.Or even use your finger with some toothpaste on it!
  • Visit your vet annually. Even if your dog is perfectly healthy, you never know what could be happening internally. Also, you need to keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations for rabies, distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and bordatella.
  • Bored dogs tend to get into mischief! Exercise provides not only physical relief but mental stimulation as well. Pick a form of exercise you both like to do, whether it’s bike riding, jogging, playing fetch, etc. As the summer draws to a close, think about indoor activities for those cold or blustery days when you can’t get outside. Plus, exercising your dog will mean exercise for you as well.
  • Heartworm and flea and tick prevention. In addition to getting your dog his vaccinations, you will need to make sure he is protected against heartworm and ticks as well, as these can cause life-threatening illnesses. Heartworm and tick prevention medications come in various formats, including collars, oral medication, and shots.
  • Leashes and identification. Unless you are at an off-leash dog park, always have your dog on a leash in public. Even though he may not run away, you never know when you’ll run into an aggressive dog or a crazy driver. Also, make sure your dog has identification on him at all times, including his/her name, address and phone number.

At HelpEmUp Harness, we’re all about keeping  your older dog as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible. That is why we have dedicated our business to developing dog harnesses and walking tools that will give your dog an extra lift when his mobility becomes compromised.