I have a lot of clients coming to me with their ageing dogs! People are concerned.
The dog doesn’t seem like itself and the owner wonders if the dog might be ill. It appears tired and not as enthusiastic in its greeting the owner when they come home and the energy isn’t what it has been.
Presented with these symptoms as a veterinarian, the dog is thoroughly examined and often bloodwork is done to rule out serious illnesses such as heart- and lungworm.
Luckily most of this week’s examinations have come up negative.
This leads us to another issue:
We need to learn that our animals also ages.
An older dog IS NOT able to do the same things as a younger dog.
Growing older is not an illness but it does require more of us as owners in the way we interact with our beloved dogs.
To me, an older dog is amazing.
As charming as a pup can be, just as wonderful are dog which have lived a full life and have settled down in its surroundings with people and other animals. You can see the changes in the dog’s appearance e.g. pigmentation change around the nose and they tend to walk slower which marks a good life.
Many are raised with the fact that exercise is good and a lot of exercise is REALLY good and we LOVE to take walks.
I’m often told by dog owners, that they have been around the park three times and are running 10 km with their dogs.
When a dog reaches a certain age it won’t be able to continue on the same long walks as before. This is completely natural. If the walks are too long you will experience your dog becoming fatigued and less enthusiastic.
Have you for a long period been walking along without taking the dog’s age and energy into consideration?
Then it’s time to change the routine, before you are forced to by your veterinarian 😉
Shorten the walks – shorter than you might think.
Walk SLOWLY and plan ahead. In return you’ll get a mindfulness walk which will allow your dog the best conditions for sniffing its surroundings.
The dog’s nose is its most valuable tool for achieving a good walk and is especially import with older dogs.
By stimulating the dog through its nose it will have just as much benefit of a short walk as it would a long walk.
Bring along a long leash and sit down while your dog gets to sniff the surroundings around you. If your dog isn’t used to this type of walk it might take some time getting used to it – so be PATIENT.
When we’re “on the move” it is not for the dogs benefit – but our own!
It is fairly easy to give your dog a wonderful retirement on its own terms.
Contact your veterinarian if you need help finding the right amount for exercise for your dog.
It is always a good idea to give your dog a senior checkup. The results are used to evaluate the dog’s daily intake of food and level of exercise. This way we can give the dogs the best life possible!
Perhaps slowing down the pace in our daily life is also something we can benefit from.