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The 3 mistakes you make daily with your geriatric dog

Genetics and environment

The interaction between genetics and the environment is involved in the aging process. This has led our dogs to see their life expectancy increased, as a result of a notable improvement in their diet, hygienic care and veterinary care.

When is a dog considered geriatric?

The vital moment in which a dog is considered old or geriatric is very variable and must be taken individually.

In general, and to give the reader an orientation, we could place the turning point towards old age around 10 years of age of the dog.

The first signs that my dog is getting older

  • Alterations in the receptor organs: that is, worse sight , hearing and even diminishes the sense of smell, returning on many occasions to go back in the walk to recover smells that they have not caught at first.
  • Changes in behavior : the brain of dogs is not exempt from aging. This, together with sensory loss, can lead to certain behavioral changes. Changes in the hygienic routine, feeding or certain disorientation, are frequent attitudes in geriatric animals.
  • Rest disorders : due to certain hormonal alterations and changes in the cortisol cycle (stress hormone) essential for rest, many older dogs may show altered rest patterns.
  • Fatigue: resistance to fatigue decreases as our dog ages. Locomotor, respiratory problems or inadequate weight contribute to this ailment.

Age does not justify everything

That my dog gets older is not an excuse to do nothing about his ailments. Although its appearance is inevitable, its management is not. Adapting to the new stage of our dog’s life, adapting routines and handling is necessary and very rewarding. Well, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing how a dog of a certain age enjoys.

Letting go of what seems “normal” only causes problems that we could have alleviated to be established without remedy.

3 common mistakes we make with elderly dogs

  1. To think that since he has “little” left you can neglect his diet and give him a treat: Begging is a normal and natural behavior for which dogs have been programmed for more than 12,000 years. Giving inappropriate food to a dog, generates health and behavioral problems. If you want to make him happy through food, don’t wait for him to beg at your table. Plan the right options, at the right times.
  2. Blaming their age for behavior problems and not treating them: It is common to attribute behavior problems in older dogs to their age. In addition, we think that we cannot change the behavior of an old dog. However, this is not true, and today we have a good assortment of educational protocols that improve the life of geriatric dogs and their coexistence with their families.
  3. Normalize that he is tired all day and never plays: The game is an indication that your dog is happy, regardless of his age. Obviously it will not have the same intensity or duration in a young dog as in an old dog. However, the disinterest in the invitation to the game should be a sign of alarm for us as managers.

 What can I do to improve the life of my elderly dog?

  1. Complete annual or semi-annual veterinary review: a dog may be tired because it has anemia, for example. Normalizing their apathy without reviewing their ailments is totally unfair. In addition to a complete analysis, your veterinarian will carry out the necessary tests at this stage.
  2. Specific diet: it is important to adapt the diet to your vital moment and state of health. Both in ingredients, as in form and frequency of administration.
  3. Walks according to your age: it is necessary to adjust the frequency of your walks because your hygiene routine changes with age and you will need to empty more frequently. Also adjust the walking time and the activities you do on each walk. For example, a dog with fear due to a sensory deficit could become distressed if it walks loose, even suffer from anxiety due to insecurity and not wanting to leave the house. A simple strap indicating that we are next to him can solve this.
  4. Increases hygiene: cleaning the dog with daily brushing, control of legañas, ears, nails, as well as cleaning their utensils becomes more important at this stage when they are tremendously vulnerable to infections.
  5. Pet him every day for at least 5 minutes at a time and play with him : petting and playing with him is still an important routine, although you no longer need him to get tired of playing, he needs to feel integrated into his social nucleus.
  6. Allow him to rest alone: some dogs become very dependent over the years. But claiming that they don’t want to be alone because of their age and doing nothing doesn’t help them. It is important that you also have your moments of rest in solitude.
  7. It enhances your sense of smell and your neurons: the olfactory system is directly connected to the brain. Exercising it keeps them with an agile mind and they also like it, as long as we maintain the level of demand according to their abilities.

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