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Ongoing research is also showing that increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids helps improve mobility.

Senior Dog Food: Meeting Aging Canines’ Nutritional Needs

There are also other issues to consider when caring for your older dog. While weight and mobility can be proactively managed and the development of tumors screened for early intervention, hearing and vision losses are more problematic. Like their owners, aging dogs can experience hearing loss. This loss occurs when the tiny hairs within the inner ear die or are damaged. One is a normal aging change of the lens that does not affect vision. The other is cataracts , the same process that affects people.

General Dog Care | ASPCA

Your veterinarian can differentiate between the two, but if significant vision loss is a concern you should also consider talking to a veterinary ophthalmologist, who can screen for the presence of progressive retinal atrophy PRA. This is a genetic disorder that is known in a number of breeds including OES , as well as mixed-breeds, and may not appear until later in life. Cataracts can be surgically addressed, but there is no available intervention for PRA. When startled, a natural reflex is to snap.

Thus, some extra caution is in order if you have boisterous puppies or a toddler around your older dog.

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Perhaps you find him barking at some invisible boggle, standing in a corner or forgetting where he normally eats. Researchers have observed accumulations of amyloid plaques in some of the same areas of cognition in both humans and canines. Other diseases or conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and brain tumors can cause some of the same symptoms, exacerbated by hearing or vision losses. These must be ruled out as causes of the confusion and disorientation you observe. Once you have completed one of these lists, the information will help your vet diagnose for possible CCD.

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Ongoing studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants that includes vitamins E and C, and importantly, fruits and vegetables, can lead to benefits in learning and memory ability. The drug L-deprenyl brand name Anipryl is reportedly effective in helping many dogs think more clearly and remember more.

However, before prescribing this your veterinarian will want to discuss possible side effects and interactions with any other medications your OES is taking.

Aging Dog? Natural Tips To Treat At Home

It is important to make sure you have the funds to adopt a pet. If not, a bird or fish might be a better option. They might not be physically able to care for them anymore, they might not be allowed to have a pet in their assisted living facility or nursing home, they might rather spend their time traveling, or they might actually be relieved to no longer have the responsibility.

If you think about it, you might know someone maybe yourself who has fallen trying to care for a pet. Some studies even find that the more attached an elderly person is to their pet, the more depressed they are. This could very well be a correlation, not causation, but it is something to consider if you are prone to depression or mental illness. Life can be isolating as you age, and the death of pet could add to this stress.

What Is the Best Senior Dog Food?

Other studies have found that if you have a strong social network, having a pet makes no difference in your happiness level. You know yourself better than anyone, so be honest about whether keeping your pet or adopting one is a good idea or not. Create a pros and cons list. Many doctors believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, but they might not for you.

See if you can find a co-caretaker for your pet. Is your mobility good enough to not fall when picking up a dog that is running circles around you? Is it hard for you to bend down to their level to clean up after a cat or dog? Asking a loved one or volunteer agency to take care of the more physical aspects of pet care can alleviate stress and susceptibility to accidents.

This is a hard decision, and your doctor and family can help you make it. The downside of pet ownership is a difficult subject to breach because no one wants to give up their beloved pet. If you have a grandchild or child whom bonds with your dog or cat, they might not mind coming over to let the dog out, or scoop out the cat litter. Reach out to family members, friends, neighbors who care, or a nonprofit that provides assistance to aging pet owners.

In some cases, an elderly person may forget to medicate or feed their pet. They may get to the point where walking their dog is difficult. For these reasons, choosing a designated family member or in-home health aide that is willing to check on the pet and help take care of it would be ideal. Make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost Remember the oxygen mask metaphor?

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Some older folks go without food or necessities because money is tight, and they love their dog too much to let them suffer. Veterinarians are good resources for finding pet care assistance. Your well-being should be top priority. Have a succession plan for your pet. If you are an aging pet owner, create a succession plan you are comfortable with early on.

Designating a god-parent or guardian for your pet in case you become ill or unable to care for the pet, is the humane, smart path to take. This designated guardian could be a family member, friend, neighbor, or trusted pet adoption agency. Meet with your designated guardian beforehand, so that they can bond with your pet and see if they are really right for ownership.

And, make sure that you will be allowed to visit your pet if you are able. If a family member or home health aide moves in to be a caregiver, they might not be able to take care of both you and your pet. A rambunctious, needy pet or a pet with multiple medications and a high maintenance routine may be too much work.

Dogs: Care and Feeding

Caregivers may not be willing to perform these tasks on top of other caregiving duties. This is a decision you will have to make together. Euthanizing a pet should be the last resort. Increased time spent sleeping is common with senior dogs. An old dog may seem content to sleep the day away, getting up only to go outside to the bathroom or for meals. However, while they may not be able to handle a vigorous hike like they used to, older dogs should still engage in regular activities that stimulate their body and mind.


Some activities such as training sessions and therapeutic exercises are particularly useful for helping dogs adapt as they age. As with our own bodies, exercise benefits old dogs in many ways, keeping muscles toned and minds clearer. For example, off-leash dogs parks are very popular, but your older dog may not enjoy the rough-and-tumble play of the younger dogs. For some dogs, the social aspect of going out may still be important, says expert dog trainer Mikkel Becker. Even if the dog park is no longer an option, you might want to take your dog for a visit to a coffee house or pet store.

Training sessions are another activity that an older dog may benefit from and enjoy. Positive training can be a bonding experience and fun for both you and your dog.