By guest blogger, Jessica Brody of Our Best Friends.
Playtime, pampering, and plenty of snuggles should only grow more important as your dog ages. Your best friend deserves the best treats and attention as she enters her twilight years, and, of course, you’re the one she turns to when she needs tender care. Ensuring your good old buddy is as happy and healthy as possible is easy with a few adjustments.
Playtime is still an important part of your dog’s life, even as she ages. Conditions such as arthritis, decreased stamina, and dental issues are common in older dogs, but that doesn’t mean you should cease healthy activity. A simple change in pace for how you approach playtime could make all the difference.
Low-impact games are a great activity to keep your dog’s senses tuned and her mind sharp. A good game of tug will help her rekindle her youth and prey drive (just be sure to take any dental issues into account before beginning), and keep her happy by letting her win.
Other activities like leisurely walking, short games of backyard fetch, and hide and seek are all ways to keep your pup happy and healthy into her gray years.
Treat yourself (and your dog)
Is your dog a good dog? Of course, she is. One way to pamper your pup and keep her spoiled into old age is through healthy, easy-to-enjoy treats. When choosing a dog treat for an older dog, there are several things to consider. Does your dog have dietary restrictions, or does she have dental issues that would make harder treats more difficult to eat? What kinds of ingredients does this company use? What do the reviews from other pet owners say?
There are plenty of options that especially support the health of senior dogs. And, just like with human vitamins and supplements, you can find treats to help with any number of ailments, including poor eyesight or arthritis. You can also make your own treats! Just be sure to use healthy ingredients and steer clear of any allergens. According to the American Kennel Club, however, your dog’s caloric requirement may drop with age, so pay attention to that and to any advice your vet has to offer.
Medication and veterinary bills don’t have to be stressful
No doubt as your pet gets older, she will need some form of medication, be it vitamins for her bones or pills for arthritis. She’ll also need semi-annual visits to the veterinarian. Both of these can prove a bit challenging.
One thing is for certain: You need to be sure to be gentle when you administer her medication. Some methods for giving your fussy friend the pills she needs (even when she refuses) include cutting the pills up into smaller doses, using pill pockets, and mixing the medication in with her meals. You should also wash your hands (to get rid of the scent of the medication) and open the pill bottle when she’s not paying attention so she can’t associate the noise with the experience.
Paying for quality veterinary care doesn’t have to be a hassle. When you foresee more vet bills in your future, a great way to offset costs is through pet insurance. And it’s actually easy to find a policy that has no or limited age restrictions. A basic policy can cover the vet visit, medications and even procedures, leaving you with only a small deductible.
Remember . . .
Taking care of your older pup is easy as long as you remember the most important thing: This is your best friend, your partner in crime, and she is always worth the extra effort.
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Thank you, Jessica, for all the great info. For resources, stories and some cute animal pics, you can visit Jessica’s website, Our Best Friends.