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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 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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