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10 Tips For Caring For Your Senior Dog

10 Tips For Caring For Your Senior Dog

When your dog gets older and is considered a senior, they need special care. It is up to you to properly care for your senior dog to help prolong his life. The age that a dog becomes a senior depends on their size. For example, a large dog like a Great Dane would be considered a senior at around age 7, while a Chihuahua would be considered middle aged at age 7.

1. Schedule Annual Exams With the Vet

If you normally only take your dog to the vet if he is sick or just every few years, that needs to change when he is a senior. When your dog gets older, he is more susceptible to disease. Often times, these diseases are hidden. It is important that you start taking your senior dog to the vet every year just in case he has any hidden conditions. At the visit, the vet will also give your dog a body evaluation. This is where you will find out if your dog is overweight or underweight. Either condition can be dangerous for a senior dog.

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2. Control Your Dog’s Weight

As your dog gets older, he will start becoming less active. If you continue to feed him the same amount of food and he isn’t as active, he risks becoming overweight. Overweight dogs have a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and skin disease. It is a good idea to discuss your senior dog’s nutritional needs with your vet to make sure that you are feeding you dog enough, but not too much.

3. Fatty Acids, DHA, and EPA are Important

As your dog gets older, he is prone to developing joint issues, mobility issues, and arthritis. In order to keep your senior dog moving like he did when he was a puppy, you should start feeding him foods rich in fatty acids, DHA, and EPA. You should give your dog’s joints added protection by giving him chondroitin and glucosamine supplements.

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4. Take Care of Your Senior Dog’s Mouth

It is a good idea to take care of your dog’s teeth from the time they are a puppy. However, you need to start taking extra care of your dog’s teeth when he gets older. Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best option. If your dog won’t let you brush his teeth, you can give him dental treats that will remove the tartar from his teeth and freshen his breath.

5. Do Routine Checks on Your Senior Dog

Because your senior dog will be moving more slowly, it is easier for a tick to jump on him and start feeding. This can be dangerous if the tick is carrying Lyme disease. If your senior dog contracts this disease, it can result in a variety of health complications. You should also do regular checks for ear mites. Ear mites in dogs can be very uncomfortable. It is important that you pay attention to your senior dog’s condition.

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6. Engage Your Dog in Exercise

Your senior dog may not be able to run around the block or chase rabbits through the yard the way he did when he was young, but he still needs exercise. The amount of exercise that he needs depends on his size. For a Great Dane, a walk around the block once a day is enough to keep him healthy and mobile. For a tiny Chihuahua, however, a walk around the block will be too much. Smaller dogs need less exercise, but all senior dogs need to walk and stay mobile.

7. Give Your Senior Dog Toys

Just because your dog won’t be able to fetch a ball or a stick when he gets older, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still want to play. His body may be old but his mind is still as sharp as a tack. You should get your dog puzzle toys that don’t require a great deal of physical activity, but they are still fun.

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8. Give Him a Comfortable Bed

If your senior dog suffers from arthritis, you should make sure that he has an extra soft bed to sleep on. If he is sore, a soft bed will help him feel better. When he sleeps at night, he will be less likely to wake up feeling sore if he has a soft bed. Be sure to ask Amazon or Snapdeal customer service and double check the kind of bed you are getting. You can likewise for their advice if you don’t know what to get.

9. Modify Your Home

If you have a few stairs in your home that your dog cannot avoid, you may need to add a ramp to make it easier for him to get up and down. Arthritis can make walking very difficult. Also, you can put carpeting on hard floors that your dog walks on the most. It can help him gain his footing and it will make getting around easier.

10. Give Him Extra Love

Your senior dog may not feel great every day, so he will need extra love and attention. It is a good idea to spend more time with him just cuddling up on the couch watching television. It could actually be good for both of you.

Caring for your senior dog is different than when you were caring for him when he was younger. When you properly care for your senior dog, he will feel better and he will be healthier.

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Junie Rutkevich

Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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