Proper Handling of Old and Sick Dogs

When the fur turns gray, getting up becomes more difficult and commands are no longer recognized, these are the first signs that the dog is getting older. In some – especially larger – dog breeds, this process can occur earlier, around the age of six. That sounds early, but it can be the case depending on breed and size.

Pay attention to the signals

Getting old does not mean being the same age – for humans as for dogs – and aging is not a disease either. If you keep a close eye on your dog and seek medical advice at the first signs of physical impairments, you can prevent age-related diseases in good time ( Age-related diseases in dogs ). Veterinarians also offer regular check-ups that you should take advantage of.

When a dog has reached a certain age, you have to pay more attention to its signals and needs than you would with a young, fit dog. Similar to a puppy, a senior dog needs more attention.

Help with joint problems

Many larger breeds, such as German Shepherds, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers, suffer from joint problems and osteoarthritis as they age. They sometimes need support to overcome larger hurdles because they can no longer jump well. You can prevent the symptoms, for example, with soft sleeping pads and running and jumping on softer floors. Orthopedic cushions that optimally adapt to the dog’s body provide great relief in the event of problems.

If you have joint problems, you can also make everyday life easier for your senior dog with an auxiliary harness (with handles on the sides). You can use it to support your dog when climbing stairs or getting up. Carrier bags, backpacks, or trolleys are suitable for smaller breeds: these are also easy on your back!

If your dog can no longer jump into the car, a special dog ramp can make it easier to get in and out. Most models can also be folded.

Go for a walk more often

Sometimes older dogs have to do their business more often than young, fit dogs. Again, pay attention to the signals and go outside more often. Always carry a poop bag with you, even if something larger comes off uncontrollably. Very old dogs can no longer control their urge to urinate as well. Protective pants can help with incontinence, and a puppy toilet is also suitable for some senior dogs.

Diet and care in senior dogs

Age often comes with a change in diet. For example, a dog that used to chew bones may prefer to gnaw on something softer as it ages. Older dogs often tend to be overweight because they don’t move as much, their digestion is sluggish and their metabolism slows down. Every kilogram too much promotes joint diseases and other age-related diseases such as diabetes. Therefore, let your veterinarian advise you on age-appropriate nutrition for your breed and size.

Another typical sign of aging in all breeds is the loss of shine of the fur and sometimes sensitive skin. Regular brushing promotes blood circulation, which supports regeneration. It also gives the fur a new shine.

Maintain routines

It is important for old dogs that the surroundings and activities remain largely familiar. Keep his resting place as clean as ever and maintain daily routines as much as possible. Be aware of any changes in your dog’s body and behavior. For example, older dogs can appear confused because their hearing or vision is impaired. Deafness or incipient blindness can cause your dog to startle easily, appear fearful, and ignore your commands.

Older dogs are lovable and loyal companions – they’re no longer silly, needing to question hierarchy and know who’s in charge. If you pay attention to your dog’s signals and respond to his needs, living with an older dog is stress-free and characterized by mutual recognition and affection.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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