A dog is a loyal companion for life, and it’s important as a pet owner to take care of your dog throughout every stage of its life. Arthritis, problems with cognition, and a reduced sense of hearing are all conditions that dogs experience as they age. Smaller dogs can run into specific problems due to their size. Here are some tips for taking care of a small aging dog.
Keep Them Toasty
While dogs have a higher natural body temperature than humans, they might need a little help staying warm as they get older. Smaller dogs, in particular, are more susceptible to being cold. Consider getting your pooch a heated bed or other comfortable objects that will keep them comfortable. You can also dress them up in sweaters — if they’ll let you. Make sure your dog’s skin gets a chance to breathe and remove the sweater once the temperature is suitable.
Help Them with Mobility
Having a dog can benefit your health in many ways, including reducing your overall stress, but owners have a chance to help them in return. Smaller dogs can be susceptible to slipped kneecaps or patellas, and other dogs can frequently struggle with arthritis — just like humans. As such, it’s important to improve your dog’s mobility. You can get your dog pet steps for getting in and out of the car or onto your bed or couch. These products vary according to dog size and individual needs, so look at reviews to see which options are the most suitable.
Discuss Your Dog’s Diet with Veterinarian
Smaller dogs need to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. However, keep in mind that many dog foods that are marketed towards “senior dogs” aren’t necessarily the best for your dog. According to an article from NPR, food marketed for senior dogs might have foreign content that won’t work for your dog. Instead, discuss with your vet the weight of your dog, the food it’s currently eating, and how to best help moderate the diet.
Brush Those Chompers
Poor dental health can lead to periodontal problems that can shorten your dog’s life, so try to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. There are specialized dog toothbrushes you can get at local pet stores, as well as toothpaste that is more palatable for your dog. Above all else, be very gentle as you brush. If you’d rather not brush, there are dental dog treats that can do the brushing for you and help your dog’s oral health.
Don’t Slack on Exercise
Exercise is just as important at an older age for dogs as it is for younger dogs. Finding an exercise you can do together is important, as this will help you and your dog bond. Exercise can help your dog physically and mentally as well. New exercises and toys can make your dog think in new ways while maintaining regular physical activity can keep your dog active and healthy. Also, don’t forget to take your dog out for regular walks.
Observe Changed Behaviors
If your pet is acting out in little ways, something might be up with their health. Some of these signs might include your dog being less social or soiling somewhere in the house. Your pooch might have increased anxiety and struggle with responding to commands. If you notice your dog acting differently, take it to the vet and discuss what might be going on.
Look Out for Little Spaces
Small dogs fit into smaller spaces. However, this can be dangerous for an older pet that might not be as agile or energetic as another dog. Watch out for any spaces in your house where your dog likes to frequent and find ways to fill those spaces or tempt your dog away from them.
The basic problems aging dogs face are similar to what humans face such as dealing with the cold or joint pain. Decrease your dog’s pain as much as possible and make its life comfortable. Give your dog plenty of exercise and make sure your furry companion eats healthy and properly. You can help make its life meaningful, just as your dog has given your life meaning.
Thank you to Nick Burton for writing this article.