As the dog gets older, he begins to show signs of age, such as longer sleeping patterns, lack of interest in activities and inability to climb stairs or jump and stand up after lying down. The age at which a dog shows these symptoms depends on the breed and size. Small dogs usually live longer and larger dogs tend to display deterioration in their legs earlier. Although the changes are normal, care for and treat your dog early to prevent unnecessary pain and avoid further deterioration. The majority of dog aging symptoms, which include arthritis and hip dysplasia, are treatable. Using appropriate techniques will allow you to support your dog’s mobility as he ages.
Provide your dog with a healthy diet using high quality food. Cheap treats are deficient in the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your aging dog needs.
Offer your dog two small meals a day instead of one large one. Prevent overfeeding, as it may cause obesity and shorten your dog’s life.
Use nutritional supplements, such as the glucosamine and chondroitin formula, for joint health. According to the Arthritis and Glucosamine Information Center, some studies show that glucosamine may be effective in reducing inflammation in a dog’s joints and may benefit dogs suffering from arthritis.
Provide your dog with regular daily exercise to maintain his weight. Old dogs are prone to obesity. Consistent activity will benefit your dog’s circulation, digestive system, heart and lungs.
Exercise your dog before he eats and feed him about 30 minutes after exercise to prevent stress and anxiety.
Take shorter, more frequent walks instead of a long one. Warm up for five minutes using a slow pace, and even and cool down near the end of your walk for about five minutes by gradually lowering your pace.
Provide plenty of clean, cold water before and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
Adjust the type and duration of your dog’s training to suit his current health. Geriatric dogs differ in their needs and what they can tolerate physically.
Trim the hair on your dog’s paws near the pads. This will increase your dog’s traction on smooth floors and make it easier for him to get up after lying down.
Cover your dog’s paws with canine slipper booties, which have non-slip bottoms. Socks come in a variety of sizes and are available at pet and animal stores.
Carry your dog with an Animal Suspension Technology (AST) support brace, which is a type of harness with a handle designed for frail and disabled dogs that need assistance walking.
Lift your dog up with the sling, which wraps around her midsection and lets you relieve pressure as she walks. Dog slings are created for aging dogs and those suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Raise the dog’s rear end using the back strap. Back packs are available if the dog is supported behind the back or leash up. Both sides allow the dog’s hind end to be raised to take pressure off the back joints and hips.
Offer your dog a pet ramp, which allows easy access to the car, home, stepped areas, or other places where it may be difficult for them to reach.