Simple Ways Extend Your Senior Dog’s Lifespan

Just like people, dogs are living longer.

Thanks to advances in medicine, diet and training, our pets are able to spend more time with us, which is what we want! As a trusted companion and member of the family, you want to do everything you can to keep your dog healthy so he is able to enjoy a long and happy life by your side.

Even though your dog is able to live longer, it can still be sad to know that he’s getting old. But he’s still golden in his retirement years. There are plenty of things you can do to extend your senior dog’s lifespan.

Start a Healthy Diet Now!

When it comes to senior dog care, pay close attention to changes in your dog’s behavior and appearance right now. If you start when you finally notice a problem, it may not be as effective. Even if you dog isn’t a senior, you can prepare by maintaining a healthy body condition during his early years. By keeping him in shape while he’s still young, you’re setting the stage for healthier, increased years spent with you down the road.

To maintain your pooch’s healthy body condition into old age, you should know what type of food and how much you are feeding him. It helps to evaluate his current body condition. When viewed from above, a dog’s ideal body shape should present a visible waist and an abdominal tuck. His ribs should also be easy to feel under the skin, but not protruding. If your dog is too thin with protruding ribs, you may need to feed him more. If his ribs are concealed by a thick layer of fat and if he has no visible waist, you may need to cut back. Making changes to your dog’s diet early in his life can have long-lasting effects that impact his lifespan.

Exercise Needs of Senior Dogs

As your dog ages, his exercise needs will change. As he gets older, his metabolism slows down. You don’t want your dog to become obese (a condition that will significantly shorten his lifespan), so you’ll have to watch or switch his food accordingly. You’ll also need to keep an eye on how much you are feeding your pet to make sure he isn’t gaining weight.

Exercise still plays an important role in your senior dog’s life. He may not be as full of energy as he once was; in fact, he may more sensitive to overexertion during exercise. It’s a good time to check in with your vet before you change his diet or exercise regimen. Avoid strenuous exercise and activities that might put a lot of strain on your dog’s joints, but make sure walks and play time make an appearance in your daily routine.

Love: The Best Medicine

Petting your dog helps lower his blood pressure and breathing rate, which lowers his stress and offers an overall state of relaxation. While petting your dog, it’s a great opportunity to check for bumps and other abnormalities that may signal a health problem. As you pet your dog, pay attention to his reaction; if touching him in a certain area induces a wince or whimper, you may want to have your dog checked by your veterinarian.

Our dogs are our best friends, and we want them to stick around for as long as possible. By making a few simple changes and keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, you’ll be able to ensure your pooch enjoys the long, healthy life that he deserves.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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