Yesterday, Oz went to the vet for his six month senior dog check up. Though we are waiting for his geriatric blood work results, our vet continues to say how healthy Oz is for a senior dog. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to the senior years – though the puppy years weren’t a walk in the park either! Here are 7 tips on how we keep Oz safe and healthy now and for years to come.
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1. GO TO SENIOR DOG HEALTH CHECK-UPS
We make sure Oz has regular visits with our veterinarian. In fact, Oz is examined twice a year just in case a serious health issue arises. While this can be more expensive, we feel it is worth it to catch health issues before they get out of control.
2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT DIET FOR YOUR DOG
As dogs age, their dietary requirements can change. If your dog is less active, they may need a diet better suited to that. As a raw fed dog, we have noticed that at times Oz needs additional fruits and/or vegetables added to his protein – like pumpkin when his old man belly isn’t feeling well. You should always talk to your veterinarian to find the right diet for your senior dog.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR DOG WEARS A COLLAR
We hate to admit it, but there are times when Oz is confused when we go for a walk especially in the early morning or late at night. With his worsening vision our fear is that somehow he will break free from us and get lost because he cannot remember how to get back home. Please make sure your senior dog wears a collar with your contact information so someone can help him/her find the way home.
4. CONTINUE TO TEACH SOMETHING NEW
It’s especially important to keep older dogs engaged in learning to fight boredom and help to decrease brain aging. Puzzle feeders that provide a food/treat reward are great for stimulating and exercising a dog’s brain. Oz plays with his puzzle feeders, his activity mat or his snuffle mat daily to keep his mind sharp.
5. MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOUR DOG TO GET AROUND
Be aware that your senior dog may have pain or other health issues that make it difficult for him to get around so providing ramps or stairs to allow your senior dog access to furniture or beds can be helpful. For a senior like Oz who is losing his vision, be sure to keep known walking areas free of clutter or new objects so your dog can continue to find his/her way around the house.
6. SECURE YOUR DOG WHEN TRAVELING IN THE CAR
Did you know most car accidents happen close to home not on long road trips? Research suggests it is because we feel more relaxed when we are driving in our own neighborhoods and our brain’s are more likely to go on “auto-pilot”. No matter where we go, even around the corner and down the street to the vet’s office (like yesterday) Oz is always secured with a car pet safety restraint.
Oz wears Sleepypod’s Clickit Sport dog safety harness. The loop design and padded vest are engineered to work together to distribute and reduce damaging forces in an accident and also make it comfortable for Oz to wear on short and long road trips. The Sleepypod Clickit Sport can also be used as a walking harness so on some occasions we leave it on for a walk or visit.
7. PROVIDE THE RIGHT BED
Or should I say “beds” because Oz has five beds strategically placed around the house?!? We have converted most of Oz’s beds to orthopedic beds that provide better support for aging joints and muscles.
What tips do you have to keep your senior dog safe and healthy?