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Aging Gracefully: It’s A Senior Dog Life
We all age, and aging can make life difficult, even for our beloved pets. Where would we be without our pets? They make us happy. They shower us with unbridled love. They relieve our stress. So what can we do for them? What should we do for our pets as they age? How can we best care for our pets so that they have long, fulfilled, meaningful lives, in as much comfort as we can provide them?
Take my dog Buddy for example; he is coming of age. It is easy to take care of them when they are young. With a puppy, you feed the dog, paper train it, sometimes take it to the vet and spend some time with it and you are set. As your dog, or any pet gets older, you need to take special care of them. Your dog goes from being your steadfast companion to a loving family member that you need to take special care of. You need to start choosing foods for them that are easy to chew because their teeth rot with age due to gum disease. You need to watch their diet to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need. You have to be careful about overfeeding, because excess weight affects their joints. Massaging your dog will help with joint stiffness and also improve blood circulation. In short, you need to be an informed caretaker if you want your aging dog to enjoy its golden years.
Here are some tips that will help you extend the life of your trusty dog as he ages:
1. Weight Control: Watch your dog’s weight. Everyone loves to give their pets treats and table scraps, but as they get older, their metabolism slows down. You have to be careful what you feed them. An overweight dog is a doomed dog, no matter how much happy table scraps momentarily calm your dog. The weight causes joint pain and stress on the heart, so devise and maintain a healthy diet for your pet.
2. Exercise: Exercise is good for your dog and you, but don’t overdo it. Too much exercise can tax your dog, making him sluggish for days. Think of it this way, you might spend time with your grandma, walking, maybe even swimming in the pool with her, but would you expect her to chase a Frisbee for an hour? No, her body couldn’t take it. An aging dog is the same as an aging human, they may have the desire to run and play, and make you happy, and they may do so for longer than they should if you let them. Monitor the exercise you give your dog, too much or too little of it can be a bad thing!
3. Vitamins and Minerals: That’s right, just as a person needs supplemental vitamins and minerals as they age, so does your dog. Fish oil, for example, is great for the coat and skin that darkens and dries out as your dog ages. Glucosamine and Chondroitin can help your dog fight the effects of arthritis. Do your research and find what minerals and vitamins your dog needs to live a long and healthy life.
We all love our pets; it is up to us to take care of them. I don’t know what I would do without my aging dog. Buddy, is fourteen years old and loves to hover over my face. It is his way of greeting but disgust! The problem is that he has bad breath. It could turn fresh milk into cottage cheese in a second. I saw him wither flowers with one blast. Sometimes I wonder if he eats his own poop like a breath mint. I guess you could say Buddy has a high IQ because he understands the difference between giving you his right foot and his left foot, but I’d deduct a few IQ points if for eating poop. That’s not really a smart diet choice.
Sometimes he will knock you down with both feet too, especially when he wants something to eat. He is deaf, which makes me very sad, yet he is such an extraordinarily sweet and gentle dog, which makes me happy. He is the only dog I know with sleep apnea. He always gives me that sad bag when I eat something, so I end up sharing it with him sometimes, but I monitor his weight and diet. If he doesn’t snore, I get nervous because he lies so still. I have to go over and shake him. Sad to say, arthritis is already starting to affect his hips. He wobbles when he walks. There are times when I feel terrible watching him move, he is so slowed down by arthritis pain. My chair is his favorite place, and every day he seems to have more difficulty jumping on it. For whatever little time I may have left with the old fellow, I want to make him as comfortable as possible. Here is his poem, and a poem for all the wonderful aging dogs out there!
Woof, dear mom and dad
I like you so much…
When my hips ache
They are soothed by your loving touch…
Whenever I’m hungry
You make sure I’m well fed
When I spend the day sleeping, it always is
A toy and blankets on my bed.
So soft and warm and cuddly too
It’s like I’m in heaven, believe me it’s true!
You know how much I like to sleep on your chair
But it’s so hard to jump, it’s too much pain to bear.
I walk with a wobble, as if I were wearing high heels,
My breath stinks so bad, it freezes milk.
Sometimes you let me lick your hands and sometimes your face,
Even after I lick myself in every private place.
It’s hard to get old, can’t even handle my own mess
So I wear that stupid diaper all the time, but it’s better than a dress!
So here we are, two best friends, the best that will ever be,
One thing is for sure, we will forever have each other’s loyalty.
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#Aging #Gracefully #Senior #Dog #Life