I won't lie, I'm fearful. Very fearful. Fearful that Quinn is getting older day by day. Having parents that age by the day scares me well enough, but having a pup that ages twice as fast (due to their short lifespans) whose energy expends twice as great sends shock waves to my core. I'm not ready to deal with Quinn dying (touches wood). I'm not ready to say goodbye, and I'll definitely never be ready to get another dog. It'd be like replacing Quinn; and I could never do that to him. Therefore, I'm looking out for the subtle changes in Quinn's behaviour daily, being more receptive to any changed needs and wants, and going the extra mile to ensure he's gonna live the rest of his life in comfort, whilst I prepare him for old age. For dog owners out there who are helping their pups through their older years, here are some tips that may come in handy for you:
1. Provide a Better Bed
As much as young dogs adore sprawling out on the floor without a care in the world, paying more attention to your dog's limbs, back, joints and neck becomes more crucial in old age. Getting up in the morning on a cold hard floor may be a little too harsh on their old bodies, and a thick padded bed would definitely be way more supportive.
2. Supportive Therapy
Limping, dragging, stiff and achy joints and muscles are all symptoms of old age. In humans and in dogs. To relieve some of that pressure and pain in your pup, as well as to facilitate more daily walks, supportive therapy might be the way. From acupuncture to physical therapy, these methods can help your dog regain physical function, and make them more active in the long run. It's exactly like old people and their walks - Essential, and healthy.
3. Diet and Supplements
Diet adjustments are necessary with any dog as they enter their golden years. As old dogs are less active due to possible joint and muscle aches, reducing their calorie intake is key to maintain a healthy heart. Weight gain can make it much harder for their heart to pump blood across the body, resulting in premature death or heart attacks. Additionally, you may want to make more wet/soggy food for your pup, instead of the regular dry hard chow. Not only will it be easier to chew, but the increased moisture content can greatly aid healthy kidneys and smooth poops. Lastly, always try to incorporate fish oil into your dog's diet, as it greatly helps maintain a shiny coat and skin, as well as joint support in their old age.