The worst part about being a pet parent is watching our faithful hounds get old. It seems a little unfair, but unfortunately, most pet parents will outlive their canine family members. With the average life span of a canine ranging from 8 years up to 17 years, you'll likely need to guide your hound through old age long before you retire!
This brings us to the burning question, is caring for a senior dog any different to caring for a young pooch? The short answer is yes. Naturally, as our furry friends age, their care needs evolve, which means pet parents need to be up to speed with how to care for their ageing family members to ensure they continue to live happy and healthy tail-wagging lives.
While senior dog care can be rewarding, it can also be challenging for pet parents, especially if they are unaware of an older hound's care requirements. This comprehensive Mountain Hound guide will outline some key tips and strategies to help you keep your senior dog healthy, active, and comfortable throughout their golden years.
Pet Parent Tips for Senior Dog Care
Tip #1: Regular Veterinary Check-Ups
It's important to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure that your senior dog remains in good health. This will allow the vet to monitor your dog's health and make necessary changes to their diet, exercise routine, or medication. Additionally, routine blood work can help detect any underlying health conditions early on.
Tip #2: Balanced Doggy Diet
As hounds age, their nutritional needs may change. Older dogs often require fewer calories but more protein to maintain muscle mass. Consider switching to senior dog food formulated to meet their specific nutritional needs. It's also a good idea to consult your veterinarian about the specialized foods available to ensure your dog gets the right nutrition. A good senior dog food should be low-calorie, rich in protein and contain nutrients to support heart health and immunity.
Tip #3: Daily Exercise
Having spent many happy years adventuring with your hound, you're probably a veritable expert on the best dog collars, leashes and other essential dog accessories. But did you know that although your hound may prefer snoozing on the sofa, regular exercise for older dogs is still important? In fact, exercise is vital for maintaining your senior hound's muscle mass, flexibility, and overall well-being.
However, this doesn't mean you have to take your dog on long, strenuous walks. Instead, aim for shorter, more frequent walks throughout the day. Swimming is also a great low-impact exercise option for senior dogs. Check out these cool dog leashes, perfect for adventuring at a sedate pace!
Tip #4: Accessibility
As dogs age, they may develop mobility issues. Make sure your senior dog has easy access to their food and water bowls, as well as a comfortable place to sleep. You can also consider adding ramps or steps to help your dog navigate the stairs or get up on furniture. Self-heating thermal pet blankets are an excellent senior dog care investment; trust us, your hound will thank you!
Tip #5: Cognitive Stimuli
Like young dogs, senior hounds benefit from cognitive stimulation like puzzle feeders and games. This can help prevent cognitive decline and provide mental stimulation. Interactive toys, such as treat-dispensing balls, are a great way to keep your hound mentally engaged.
Tip #6: Pain Management
As dogs age, they may develop arthritis or other painful joint conditions. It's important to monitor your dog's mobility and behavior for signs of pain. If you notice your hound is struggling, your veterinarian can recommend medications or specific pain management solutions to help keep your older hound comfortable.
Senior dog care requires patience, understanding, and at times specialized care. But by following these useful tips, you can ensure your furry hound is happy, healthy, and comfortable as they venture into their retirement years. Remember to consult with your veterinarian throughout the process and remember that even though your dog may be getting older, the love and companionship they provide is worth the effort.