The first aches and pains in the dog’s legs

 Coat going grey, standing up becoming difficult, commands no longer heard? Yes, even our dogs get older! With some dogs, this process already kicks after the age of six. The experts at Maxi Zoo explain how and with what means owners can alleviate their senior dog’s everyday life.

Attend to your aging pooch

Already old at six? That might sound early but it can indeed be the case depending on breed and size. But growing old doesn’t necessarily mean being old. If you keep a close eye on your dog and get medical advice at the first signs of physical impairment, you can prevent serious illnesses. Vets also offer regular preventative checkups for your canine companion which you should make use of.

Many of the larger breeds such as German shepherds, Labradors and golden retrievers suffer from joint problems and arthrosis in their old age. You can guard against these complaints by using soft sleeping mats and running and jumping on softer ground. Orthopaedic cushions which adapt ideally to the dog’s body provide a lot of relief with such problems

Brush your bow-wow

A typical sign of old age in all breeds is the loss of glossiness to the coat and to some extent a tenderness of the skin. Regular brushing promotes circulation which in turn supports regeneration. Apart from that, it restores a new shine to the coat.

When things finally reach the point that your pet makes it clear that it just can’t be as active as before, you can make life easier for it:

  • You can help or support your dog in standing up and climbing steps with carrying or lifting harnesses (with handles on the sides) if he or she is no longer up to it. Dog carrier bags, rucksacks or trolleys are suitable for smaller dogs and they’ll spare your back, too! If you cycle a lot then a dog bike trailer will provide relief.
  • Your four-legged friend can no longer get into the car or refuses to jump? A dog ramp facilitates climbing in and out. Most models can be folded up for practicality.
  • Dog steps can make it easier for your-legged friend to overcome hurdles in the home: getting up onto the couch, the armchair or to another raised favourite place.

Feeding your Fido in later years

Age often brings with it a a href=”https://maxizoo.ie/dog-food-for-life-stages/” title=”Dog food for life stages”>change in diet on which you should get subject, breed and size-specific advice.  A dog is considered “older” if the level of certain metabolic functions in the body starts to deteriorate and cell aging overtakes cell renewal. Depending on breed but also different for each dog, this may start at 6 years of age in very large breeds. Usually, the ageing process kicks in a few years later in smaller dogs. Ageing cannot be prevented, but its consequences can be diminished by proper feeding. The owner often notices that his or her dog is getting on in life by the dog’s decreasing activity level due to signs of wear on joints, muscular atrophy and cardiovascular problems. The animal uses less energy and the non-used energy is often stored as a fat reserve. Therefore the energy intake must be reduced for our more rounded canine friends. In addition, the gastrointestinal tract peristalsis lessens which can lead to constipation in particular, if the dog is less active. A high level of fibre as present in Select Gold Light helps to maintain intestinal peristalsis and aids proper bowel movement.

Digestion itself becomes less efficient. Nutrients, vitamins and minerals are not absorbed as well as before. Therefore food for older dogs should include high quality and concentrated nutrients, minerals and vitamins allowing many of the digested substances to be optimally utilised by the dog’s body. Ageing also often affects the kidneys quite early on. Blood filtering becomes less efficient and the accumulated toxins put a strain on the dog. A good senior food contains high quality protein and less phosphorus, producing less waste products in the blood and easing the kidney’s work load. And of course the food should be very palatable, as the dog’s tasting and smelling ability decreases with age. This is why many older dogs become very fussy eaters. Heating and wetting (of dry food) of the food intensifies the smell and they will eat with renewed enthusiasm.

Conclusion

A high quality light food (such as Select Gold Light) provides especially for our “bigger” seniors an easy to digest diet balancing typical effects of ageing and keeping the older dog fit and healthy.
Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.