Our four-legged friends are part of the family; witnessing our life’s milestones, featuring in many of our fond memories and warming our hearts with their unconditional love.
As core family members, it can be challenging to see the effects that old age can bring; slowing their once spritely souls and evolving their everyday needs. But it doesn’t have to be a cause for concern.
Spotting the signs of age-related illnesses early and adapting your dog’s healthcare and daily routine accordingly can help it to sail into its senior years with grace (and a great deal of fun).
Here are some common symptoms to look out for and tips to keep them feeling happy and healthy.
Just as we humans develop aches and pains as we get older, so do our furry friends. Typically, the onset of joint pain is usually gradual in ageing dogs, meaning early intervention can help to slow or ease the process.
Typical signs include:
– Difficulty or stiffness when sitting, standing or lying
– Reluctance or trouble climbing the stairs
– Decreased activity levels due to difficulty running or jumping
– Limping or signs of injury to their legs
Regular light activity is recommended to maintain muscle strength. However, you can also support your dog’s joint health by supplementing the appropriate vitamins and minerals.
This inspired Butcher’s to create our newest recipe, Joints & Coat. Infused with salmon oil, glucosamine and chondroitin, our nutrient-rich cans increase the naturally occurring substances that ease joint pain and slow down the degenerative process associated with joint health.
Changes to Their Senses & Appearance
Every dog has its favourite meal, treat and toy. So, if you begin to notice that those once-loved favourites no longer get their tails wagging, it could be a sign that your dog’s senses are evolving.
A change in their tastebuds could see meat-lovers move to a more fish-based meal preference. While a slight hearing impairment could mute the previously recognisable snap of a can lid, no longer leading your dog to bound into the kitchen and eagerly await a nutritious meal.
Whatever the sensory change in your dog, it’s important that you try new recipes and rituals to remind them how tasty and nutritious their food can be.
Additionally, changes in their appearance, such as cloudier eyes and duller coats, can also indicate a deficiency in certain nutrients and vitamins. That’s why you can also find added Omega-3 and Omega-6 to our new Joints & Coat recipe, as these are vital for encouraging a healthy coat.
Eye-sight degeneration can be helped by keeping furniture in the same place around the house so your dog learns how to safely navigate its surroundings. Creating simple rituals around certain events, such as walks, bedtime and meals can also teach your dog new ways of knowing what’s happening to keep them calm and adjust to their new way of life.
A Loss of Energy & Enthusiasm
You know your dog better than anyone, but sometimes you can’t quite pinpoint a specific change in their behaviour, you simply know something’s different. Call it a feeling, intuition or the unique connection you have, but you’re likely picking up on small, subtle changes in their energy levels and enthusiasm.
Food, rest and routines play a large part in both the quality and quantity of nutrients absorbed and therefore their overall effect on your dog.
Consider how much your dog eats in relation to the level of exercise it now gets. It could be time to modify their portion sizes or reduce the number of delicious treats they enjoy throughout the day as their energy expenditure decreases.
Weight gain or loss that is unusual for your dog is also a great indicator of whether your dog’s burning the calories it consumes.
Where possible, you might need to revise your walking routine to include a couple of shorter, less-demanding routes, rather than the extensive trails you currently track. Keeping an eye on their sleep to ensure they’re getting enough without being disturbed can also make a positive impact.
Ultimately, getting older is a fact of life and, although it does come with some ailments along the way, it certainly doesn’t need to be boring or restrictive.
Embrace this new chapter. Perhaps it will be at a slightly slower pace, but that itself gives you both even more time to appreciate how deliciously nutritious mealtimes are, how much fun can be found in the everyday, and strengthen the unbreakable connection between you and your dog.
Learn more about our new Joints & Coat range to support your dog’s joint health and promote a healthy coat. We’re pleased to confirm that Joints & Coat is now available exclusively to Pets At Home online.
Please note: Each breed has its ageing timeline and typical symptoms. Signs of ageing might be seen earlier in larger dogs as the weight of their muscles bares down on their joints over the years. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, we always recommend seeing your vet who will be able to advise specifically on your dog’s condition.
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