Article by Thomas Adria of Life As a Pet
Here are some tips to put a spring in your older dog’s step:
• Observe your dog – notice if he’s favoring one leg or struggling up stairs.
• Feed your dog healthy, homemade foods twice a day – prepare lightly seared beef, chicken and turkey (well cooked to prevent salmonella poisoning) and poached fish (tilapia is the least expensive and they love it). Mix with fresh vegetables such as spinach, carrots, peas and squash.
• Be sure he gets plenty of exercise, but change it up to what his older body can stand. For example, if he is having trouble with stairs, don’t hike hills. Take him on walks on flatter, softer surfaces like around a grassy field. Swimming is excellent for older dogs.
• Don’t over feed; obesity puts added stress on joints and organs and can create new health problems.
• Brush or wipe his teeth clean. A dog’s health is intricately tied to how healthy his teeth are. Plus, once he gets used to your finger in his mouth, you can enjoy the bond. Be sure to use toothpaste or wipes made for dogs.
• Vitamins – give your dog a fish oil or Omega 3 oil capsule, a multivitamin for senior dogs and glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis. Give them pills made especially for dogs, not humans.
• Give him massages. Start by rubbing his back, along his spine, down his tail and give the tip a light pinch to stimulate blood flow. Massage his joints and between the toes in his paws. Stretch his legs gently forward and back to loosen muscles.
• Make sure his bed is adequately padded so that his joints are comfortable.