Taking Care of a Mature Dog

by Amy Brantley
    Give your aging dog the care he needs.

    Give your aging dog the care he needs.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    Are you worried about your aging pet? Don't be. While your dog may have hit maturity, that doesn't mean his life is over. There are a number of changes you can make that will prolong his life and make him more comfortable. Whether it's a change in his diet or vet care, you'll ensure your dog is healthy and happy throughout his senior years. This means you have time to make even more wonderful memories.

    Step 1

    Change his diet. As dogs mature, they need better quality food in order to stay healthy. Spend as much as you can to provide your dog with the highest-quality food available. Older dogs have a hard time digesting poor quality food and need a food that has a high-quality source of protein.

    Step 2

    Watch her weight. Excess weight is a problem for all dogs, but as your dog ages, the weight can cause even more problems. Arthritis and joint problems in older dogs are often caused by excess weight. Keeping your dog at the proper weight will improve her lifespan by up to two years.

    Step 3

    Increase vet visits to twice per year. Older dogs need to visit the vet for checkups every six months. This ensures your vet will detect any problems in the early stages, which can save your dog's life. These increased visits can also reduce future vet costs.

    Step 4

    Have his blood screened each year. Blood screening should be done yearly to screen for kidney and liver failure. When these conditions are caught early, the vet is able to start a treatment plan that will help your dog live longer.

    Step 5

    Take care of her teeth to prevent disease. Poor dental health in older dogs can lead to a number of diseases. As tarter builds up, gingivitis can occur and the bacteria can cause diseases of the liver, kidneys and heart. Keep your dog's teeth clean with chew treats, daily brushing and by having her teeth professionally cleaned.

    Step 6

    Exercise his mind and body. A sharp mind and well-maintained body can help ensure your dog lives longer. Play games with your pet that challenge him to use his mind to figure something out, such as puzzle toys. You can also play games that exercise his body, such as a game of tug-of-war or fetch.

    Step 7

    Keep her comfortable. Age can cause joint pain and arthritis in pets. A good massage on her muscles can leave her feeling wonderful and a heated dog bed will be like heaven. You can massage her muscles by applying gentle pressure with your forefinger and middle finger and rotating in small circles.

    Step 8

    Spend more time with him. Just because your dog is aging doesn't mean you should spend less time with him. Continue to take him on walks and trips to park. Play games in the evenings and enjoy his company the same way you did when he was young. He's the same dog, just older.

    Items You Will Need

    • High-quality food
    • Chew treats
    • Puzzle toys
    • Heated dog bed

    Warning

    • Always have your vet do a blood screening before cleaning your dog's teeth to ensure she is healthy enough to withstand anesthesia.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.

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