Caring for your Senior Dog
Food Diets For Older Dogs
If your dog is getting older, you should consider changing his lifestyle. And what better way to begin than with the diet? This article will give you some of the info you need on how you are supposed to change your dog?s diet in order to have a healthy senior dog. Senior dogs have special nutrition needs and you have to follow them precisely.
What kind of food is recommended?
First of all, before you start working on your senior dog?s diet plan, you have to take it to the vet and have some blood tests. This way, you will find out if it has some extra health problems you have to take care of. So, by running some blood tests on your dog, you will see exactly what type of food he needs in order to heal those problems.
Besides high quality dog food that is found in every pet care store, you have to bear in mind the next tips:
- Feed your dog fruits and vegetables from time to time. A senior dog will seriously benefit from eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables. If the dog is prone to constipation, feed him wheat bran, steamed fresh green beans or canned pumpkin.
- Add some extra nutrients in the diet. Antioxidants, vitamin E and beta-carotene, omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids or gamma linoleic acid can be a great benefit to a senior dog. It will boost its immune system, keep its skin and coat healthy, support the digestion and help the cartilages stay the same. You can use all these extra nutrients as supplements in high-quality senior dog food.
- Last, but not least, you ought to ask your vet all the details about the new diet, because he is the only one who can give you a dietary plan for the dog.
How much food?
Older dogs usually gain weight in time and this will cause joint and arthritis pain. In order to prevent this, diet is the solution. Keep the portions small, but rich in fats and antioxidants. However, there are some cases when senior dogs can lose weight. In this case, please take the dog to the vet and run some tests. For instance, your dog could suffer from dental problems, which makes it difficult for it to chew food.
When to feed the dog?
Keep the schedule normal, as the dog is used to. You should feed it twice a day with senior dog food and a third time with some special nutrients. If the vet gave you a specific feeding schedule, follow it precisely.
Ingredients for the best senior dog food:
In order to find the best dog food in the pet care stores, you should look on the label for the ingredients. It is very important that it contains: chicken, turkey, eggs, salmon, tuna, peas, carrots, spinach, apples or blueberries. Of course, you could just buy some plain meat and cook it at home for the dog, but the best way to handle it is to buy some specially prepared food.
How To Relieve Pain For Dogs With Arthritis
Just as humans, when they get old, dog may experience joint pain, which, in time, turns into osteoarthritis. Just like that, overnight, a pleasant walk can turn into a painful struggle to stand on the paws. And we are sure that no owner likes to see that.
What causes arthritis in dogs?
There are two main categories of joint problems: developmental and degenerative. The first type is caused by hip or elbow dysplasia, which can be translated as the lack of joint development. The second type may cover a large number of areas, such as ligament problems, where the ligament degenerates in time and causes instability.
What are the signs of arthritis in dogs?
Most of the time, it is very easy to notice if your dog has some sort of walking disorder or joint pain. The dog may have problems getting up or off the couch or climbing the stairs of the house. Perhaps they do not even want to play as much as they used to. From this it progresses to holding the limb in a funny way and licking the paws to make the pain go away.
What are the common treatments used to relief pain?
Typically, the treatment divides into two main categories: surgical and non-surgical treatments. The surgery is always decided by the veterinarian, never by the owner, because he is the only one who can tell whether the problem is so serious that it could never be treated by non-surgical means. When it comes to the second types of treatments, we have more than one possibility.
First of all, the vet will recommend you to manage the dog?s weight and the body condition. With the right diet and exercise program, the dog can get to an ideal weight and the problems may decrease. Secondly, you can give your dog supplements, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM or green-lipped mussel. But, of course, only the vet is allowed to make a supplements program for your dog. Also, Omega 3 acids have a great anti-inflammatory effect, so perhaps he will also recommend this type of substance in the dog?s food.
Another thing you can do to relieve the pain in your dog is to massage the areas where the vet has discovered arthritis, such as the paws. In the evening, when the dog is relaxed and has eaten, gently massage the areas to ease the pain, it is not a permanent treatment but, in urgent cases, it works well enough. Pharmaceuticals are another option. There are some polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections that are considered to be the golden drug to release pain in joints and bones. Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan repairs the broken tissues and the cartilages. Of course, you can add analgesics, such as Ibuprofen or Gabapentin. However, these may sedate the dog and make it lazier than usually, as they target the nervous system.
Remember to take great care of your dog and, as soon as you notice any of these symptoms, contact the vet and consider non-surgical treatments first.