Senior Dog Care in Toronto, ON: Everything You Need to Know
For years your dog has been your best companion. They’ve been with you through good times and bad, through laughs and cries, always constant, always making you smile and lifting your spirits. Dogs have a way of becoming our most sacred and beloved companion, often times trumping family and friends.
Your dog has been with you since he was a puppy. You’ve watched him grow, trained bad habits out of him, and in turn he’s now your best friend. As your dog exits adulthood and enters his senior-status, some of the necessary care will change and we need to adapt as owners to make sure we’re providing the best care possible.
Signs That Your Dog Needs Senior Care in Toronto, ON
Just like humans, as dogs age their body starts to slow down and their organs aren’t functioning as well as when they were younger.
Some typical symptoms that mean your dog needs senior care include:
- Wear and tear of joints
- Diminishing eyesight
- Hearing loss
- Loss of appetite
- Periodontal disease
None of these necessarily mean your dog is sick, they just mean that your pup is aging and needs some additional care.
Ages When Dogs Need Senior Care in Toronto, ON
Different breeds of dogs do age differently, though. Small breeds live longer and aren’t considered “senior” until they’re 11-13 years of age. Large breeds are “senior” at 8-10 years, and giant breeds (hello, Great Danes!) are “senior” at 5-6 years of age.
“Senior” status also factors in genetics, nutrition, and environment. Even dogs of the same breed will age at different rates.
Important Factors for Senior Dog Care in Toronto, ON
As dogs get older, they start to need a different level of care to fit the requirements for their age. Below are some important factors to take into account for your senior dog’s care in Toronto.
Schedule Regular Visits With Your Veterinarian
One of the most important things you can do to increase your care with your senior dog is to schedule regular visits to your veterinarian. This needs to be at least once a year so that they can determine if there are any underlying conditions that needs to be treated that you might not see. While you’re at your appointment, you should also ask for a body condition evaluation. This helps determine where your dog falls on the weight scale.
Are they underweight, overweight, or an ideal weight? Then you can work with your vet to get them where they need to be.
Adjust Your Dog’s Diet
Along with monitoring your pup’s weight, you will need to update their diet. As they age, some dogs will become overweight while others will have trouble keeping weight on. You and your vet in Toronto can determine what needs your dog has.
No matter what, you’ll want to switch over to a food that’s highly nutritious. If your dog is overweight, you’ll want to adjust to a food that allows for some weight loss while still being satisfying. If your dog is underweight, you will want to feed a calorie-heavy food.
Older dogs also need additional fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These nutrients are proven to help dogs with arthritis and other joint diseases. Talk to your vet about any additional supplements that they recommend in order to keep your senior dog in as good health as possible.
Pay More Attention to Their Dental Health
Now that you’re visiting the vet yearly and have adjusted your dog’s nutrition, it’s time to turn to the teeth. Dental health is a critical piece of your dog’s overall health. This is actually true for their entire lives, but especially as they age. You want to keep their teeth healthy so that they can continue to eat the nutrients they need.
If you haven’t been brushing, take him in for a professional clean and then start building up his tolerance for at-home brushings.
Change Your Dog’s Exercise Routine
With joint pain and less mobility, it might seem like you should slow down on the exercise with older dogs. The answer to that is yes, and no. Your dog definitely won’t be able to exercise and play as long as he used to, but you don’t want them to completely slow down to the point where it causes additional problems. Too little of exercise can actually be detrimental.
So, maybe you still do your daily walks, but you cut them down by a block or two. And yes, you still play a little fetch but your pup jogs instead of sprints.
For their mental health, you should make them work for their treats and continue to practice their commands and tricks. You can also provide new, fun toys to their regimen to keep them guessing and interested. Working your dog’s mind is just as important as working their body.
Watch for New Special Needs for Your Dog
Lastly, there might be the occasional special request that your dog needs. It could be a ramp up to their favorite seat or to your bed if they sleep with you. It could also be additional pillows or blankets to keep them comfy and warm.
Another thing to note is that dogs tend to slide around on hardwood floors. So, if you have mostly hardwood, consider placing a few rugs around to make it easier for your dog to walk on his old joints.
Talk With a Vet About Your Dog’s Senior Care in Toronto, ON
Taking care of your dog in the final years of his life can seem upsetting. It’s hard to watch our companions age and slow down. However, these are some of the most important years of their life as far as care goes. By taking the extra steps to keep him healthy and comfortable, you’re going to increase his life expectancy and his happiness. All dogs deserve to be treated like royalty in their senior years!
At Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services, we help you decide on the best geriatric pet care plan for your senior dog. Our mobile vets in Toronto, ON come to your home and provide your dog with the care they need to live a healthy life during their senior years. The goal of our compassionate and expert veterinary team is to improve your pet’s quality of life so they can live a happy life with you.
About Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services
At Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services, we are dedicated to helping people say goodbye to their pets with dignity and respect. We bring our services to our patients’ homes where they can be cared for in a quiet, familiar environment surrounded by their loved ones.