Today, pet dogs have a much longer life expectancy compared for last decades. Thanks principally to the high nutritional standards of modern commercially prepared complete dog foods, the availability of modern effective vaccines and the great advances in veterinary knowledge that have been made in the last four to five decades.
Life span is to a great extent an inherited trait but it is of course, also dependent on good care by the owner. The life span of smaller breeds is around 14 years and even 16 years is not common. However, bigger breeds and Labrador especially, seldom live longer than 10-12 years of age. Graying of the muzzle and eyebrows is seen in some dogs as early as 4 years old, but that does not mean that they should be treated as senior citizen. In extreme old aged dog the whole coat may become dusted with white hairs and some dogs go gray or even white all over. Here are the tips to improve the quality of life of your aging dog:
- Make it a habit to monitor the daily water intake of your dog. Increased thirst is often a sign in older dogs and can be associated with failing kidneys or diabetes, for example.
- Carry out health checks regularly so that pending disease or condition can be avoided or treated right away. Prompt medication is especially important in older dogs.
- Feed your dog food that is really palatable. Warming the meal will make it more appetizing and easy to digest. Consider providing a bowl that is more users friendly and placing it at a more convenient place to your dog.
- Do not turn your dog out during cold winter. The cold air could shock and precipitate a stroke to your aging dog.
- Don’t board your pet unless it is really necessary. The stress involved, particularly if you use an unfamiliar kennel, could lead to latent illness.
- Avoid overfeeding your; it will need much less food if it is only able to amble a short distance rather than running around with another dog, joining you on a good hike, or climbing up the nearest mountain. Remember too that obese dogs are more prone to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
- Don’t let your aging dog out on its own; it may well become disoriented, as a result of deteriorating sense of smell, sight and hearing, and be unable to find its way home.
Knowing these simple tips will make a difference because sooner or later our beloved dog will age faster than us and we want them to grow old gracefully.