Watching your beloved fur friend getting older can be really upsetting. From arthritis in dogs to canine dementia, your pup entering their senior years can bring a whole new set of unique mental and physical health challenges.
The good news is that while you can't stop your beloved bundle of fluff from aging, you can learn to spot the signs your dog is getting old so that you can be sure you're providing them with everything they need to live a happy and comfortable life in their later years.
With that in mind, expert trainer Amelia Steele has come to the rescue with a useful Instagram video in which she shares some of her favorite ways for supporting senior dogs. Read on to find out what they are...
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1. Keep their mind active: "Sometimes when a dog's body starts to slow down, it can be really easy to forget about their mental needs," says Steele. "But it's really important to keep their mind active. This could be something as simple as teaching them a nice calming trick, like a touch or a chin rest, or you could use enrichment games to keep their mind active."
2. Don't scold them: Steele stresses the importance of not getting upset with your dog for things that they used to be able to do but are no longer capable of doing. "It's quite common that as dogs get older, they start to struggle with things that they didn't before. This might be things like not understanding what you're asking them for, or forgetting a skill, or sometimes it can even be having toileting accidents in the house.
"It's really important to remember that it's not your dog's fault and it's not something they can control, so getting upset with them or telling them off will only make them more stressed out," she explains.
3. Consider a supplement to support healthy brain function: Steele says choosing a supplement from a reputable company can be a great way of giving your dog's brain power a boost.
While research into canine supplements is still limited, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition produced promising results that suggest long term supplementation with a nutrient blend of arginine, antioxidants, B vitamins and fish oil, can have cognition-improving effects.
As you can see from the above tips, there's so much you can do to support your dog as they go into old age.
It's important to remember that just like us, our dog's are unique and what works for one pup may not work for another.
If you have a senior dog, we recommend speaking with your vet who will be able to offer you plenty of helpful advice and guidance on everything from diet to exercise.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.