Keeping your dog healthy at any age is something we all want. Whether your dog is seven or seventeen, you want them to be active and have a good quality of life. As your dog ages, there are things you can do to help them stay healthy.
First, how do you know when your dog is a senior dog? Dogs can be considered mature, or senior:
- At age 5-6 for Large and Giant Breed Dogs
- At age 8-10 for Medium Breed Dogs
- At age 10-12 for Small & Toy Breeds
There is so much you can do to support your dog's health at this stage in his life. Here are six easy ways you can make a difference in your best friend's life.
1. Feed a high-quality diet that provides protein for muscle mass
As dogs get older, they tend to lose a little muscle each year. Providing a high-quality diet, like Bil-Jac Senior Select Dry Dog Food, helps to maintain healthy muscle. Eating a diet specially formulated for mature dogs can help support your dog’s overall health. Regular activity will also help your dog maintain muscle mass, strength and movement.
2. Keep your dog’s weight in check
Maintaining a healthy weight is important at all life stages, but is even more important with a senior dog. Being overweight is not good for your dogs’ joints and may slow them down or limit their overall activity. Be sure you are feeding a good diet, like Bil-Jac Senior Select Formula. The lower fat helps to manage his weight as he gets older. If your dog is overweight, limit his table food and be sure to measure and/or adjust the amount of food you’re feeding him. Talk with your veterinarian about how you can get your buddy back on track.
3. Activity – both physical and mental stimulation
Keeping your dog active helps him to be stimulated by all the sights and smells of his surroundings. Good old-fashioned walks, fetch and even a little running around the house is a great way to get your dog going. There are also a lot of fun puzzle and treat reward toys that encourage your dog to figure out how to get them out. These toys can also be great mental stimulation. Reminder: If your best friend hasn’t been very active lately, be sure to start slow and build your way up into more play time. Start with a 5 minute activity, walk or fetch for instance, and add 5 minutes every couple of days as long as he is comfortable and keeping up.
4. Keep those teeth clean
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is a key part of keeping your dog healthy. If you haven’t started, it’s time! Dental disease can result in your dog losing teeth and having a difficult time eating, further risking your dog’s health. Be proactive and brush once a day and keep those teeth where they belong. If your dog has already lost some teeth, Bil-Jac Senior Select has an easy-to-chew kibble, helping to make it easier to eat.
5. Thoughtful accommodations
As your best friend matures, he may have a more difficult time getting up the stairs or into the car. Being patient with him and assisting him will help keep him safe yet allow him to continue to do the things he likes to do. In addition, potty accidents may also be more frequent later in life. Limiting where your pup can roam as well as providing some pee pads could make everything a little easier on everyone.
6. Regular veterinarian visits
Taking a trip to see the doctor on a regular basis is even more important to your maturing dog. Your vet can be a valuable source of advice. Many veterinarians can run a panel of tests on your senior dog. This can help you treat any issues earlier on, proactively helping your dog to live a long, healthy life.