Just like people, dogs change in body and mind as they get older. But with the right care, you can help your dog to enjoy good quality of life all through the senior years.
For most dogs, the first signs of ageing will appear at around the age of 7 (earlier for large dogs and later for small dogs). The physical and behavioural changes will be quite subtle initially, but will become increasingly noticeable as the years pass.
To support your senior dog throughout the ageing process – and to ensure you can both get the most out of your life together – try following these simple tips.
Keep your dog fit and active
Exercise is just as important for an older dog as for a younger one. By keeping the habit of daily activity and play, you can help your dog stay in good shape – mentally and physically. If your dog has mobility issues or medical problems, ask your vet about the best way to exercise.
Stimulate the mind
It’s not just your dog’s body that needs regular exercise. The mind does too. There are plenty of ways to give your older dog mental and visual stimulation.
You can use specially designed brain-training toys at play time, or you can make sure there is a view out of the window so your dog can always watch the outside world.
Adding variety and surprise to your walks is another great way to get the brain working – even if that’s just starting from a different entrance of your favourite park.
Visit the vet regularly
Regular check-ups will allow your vet to monitor possible changes in your senior dog’s health – and take prompt action if necessary. When your dog enters the senior years, you should try to increase the frequency of check-ups to at least twice a year.
Feed tailored nutrition
As dogs age, their nutritional needs change. To help your dog get the most from the senior stage of life, switch to a specially formulated diet such as PURINA® PRO PLAN® with OPTIAGE™.
As well as providing the right nutrients in the right quantities to help support healthy ageing, the diet includes special nutrients from botanical oils called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are proven to enhance brain function in dogs aged 7 and over – helping them to stay alert and playful for longer.
The later years of a dog’s life can be a wonderful time for both of you. By following these tips, you can help enrich those years – and keep your dog in good condition for as long as possible.