How to Care for Your Mature Dog
As we age, we often have to make changes to our lifestyle and diet. Some foods don’t agree with our bodies as they once did, and certain activities become more difficult.
Dogs can also go through some of these same adjustments as they grow older. Once dogs reach seven years of age, they are considered senior pets. Becoming a senior means adjustments in food, activity and annual vet check-ups are even more important.
It’s recommended to have yearly vet screenings if your dog is seven or older. Mature pets have a greater risk of developing a health issue compared to younger dogs. Regular vet appointments will help you proactively catch any healthy issues going on with your pet.
Mature dogs have different nutritional needs than adult dogs and puppies. According to petmd.com, mature dogs should have lower-calorie diets to help prevent obesity and higher-fiber diets to improve gastrointestinal health. Pet food specifically formulated for mature dogs, such as Bil-Jac Senior Select, is:
- Lower in calories and includes “heart healthy” ingredients, such as oatmeal.
- Contains a special blend of gentle fibers that help support healthy digestion.
- Provides naturally sourced, guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
In combination, these ingredients play a vital role in supporting good health.
Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight. It also helps to keep your dog emotionally and mentally healthy. Believe it or not, moderate exercise can help to delay the continued degeneration of joints that are affected with osteoarthritis. Excess weight on joints can speed up the disease.
- If you choose outside exercise, make sure the weather is suitable for the type of exercise you’re doing.
- Walking can be an excellent activity for you and your dog. Start out with 10-15 minutes a day and slowly increase to 1-2 hours, three times a week.
- Spend more interactive playtime with your older pet. More walks, more games of fetch, and more tug-o-war. You’ll both benefit.
- Good nutrition is more important than ever in an aging pet, especially one getting regular exercise.
- Make sure to provide your older dog with a high-quality Senior food that is specially formulated with quality protein for the needs of your dog.
Swimming is a fantastic activity for dogs of all ages, but is particularly good for older dogs because it is low-impact and easy on their weakening joints and muscles. Swimming also builds strength, is good for their overall conditioning, and is naturally relaxing and comforting to most dogs.
Following these adjustments will help your pet live a long, healthy and enjoyable life.