As dogs age, they begin to develop health problems that are similar to what aging humans experience. Arthritis and cataracts are a big problem as dogs age, as well as incontinence. Your dog’s digestive system may not work as well as it used to, and his metabolism will slow as his activity levels decrease, which may result in your dog both having to eat a larger amount of food to get the nutrients he needs and an inability to burn off the calories that he is taking in, resulting in obesity. Your dog also may have trouble adjusting to variations in temperature, and may be extremely cold when it is a bit cool and extremely hot when it is a bit warm. Your dog also may lose its teeth and have difficulty eating.
Life expectancy for dogs varies by breed; the smallest breeds of dogs are expected to live twice as long as the very largest breeds of dogs. Some dog breeds, such as the Shiba Inu and Border Collie, are exceptionally long-lived for their size. Spaying or neutering your dog will, on average, increase a dog’s lifespan. The average lifespan for a small breed such as a Pomeranian is around fifteen to sixteen years; the average lifespan of giant breed such as a Great Dane or Irish Wolfhound is around six to seven years.
Taking care of an elderly dog can be a challenge. If your dog develops arthritis, he will have a hard time moving around like he used to. He may be unable to access his bed, jump into the car, jump up into bed with you, bend over to eat out of his food dish or drink out of his water bowl, or use the doggy door. If you notice your dog has mobility problems, it’s important to make things as convenient for your dog as possible. Sites on the internet sell doggy steps that your dog can use to climb up into bed with you or get into the car with you. If your dog is small, you may be able to pick him up to help him.
You should at least make sure your dog’s bed, his food dish, and his water dish are convenient for him to use. You may have to elevate the level of his food dish and water dish so he does not have to bend over downwards as far to eat or drink. Loss of teeth may necessitate that you change your dog’s diet to something much easier for him to chew. Place his bed in a location easily accessible to him, and make sure the surrounding area is around room temperature.
As your dog’s vision and hearing begin to get worse, he may become fearful of outside stimuli. The senses that your dog has relied upon to distinguish what is a threat and what is not are no longer reliable, so your dog may behave erratically and act fearful of events that he used to tolerate. Be gentle with your dog in his later years and don’t expose him to too many new or unwanted events, as it may cause anxiety problems for your dog. You should also be forgiving of bathroom accidents, as your dog may suffer from problems with incontinence or may begin to forget his toilet training.Content provided by Karen Kerrigan of ohmydogsupplies.com, the best shop to find rubber dog toys online.