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Guest Post Written by Nick Burton of OurBestDoggo.com

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This article is just one of the many useful resources pet owners can find on the South Metro Animal Emergency Care (SMAEC) website.

Watching our pets navigate the challenges of aging is not easy. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that we can do to make life a little more comfortable for our furry friends. Senior pets have different care requirements than their younger counterparts. Learning about these different care needs can help you postpone age-related decline and prevent common diseases. Here are some quick tips to help keep your pet happy and healthy in their senior years!

Invest in High-Quality Food

As dogs get older, their nutritional needs change. This is why many dog food manufacturers produce special dog food formulas for senior dogs. However, these senior dog foods vary widely when it comes to nutrient levels. For example, the American Kennel Club explains that senior dogs need more protein to maintain muscle mass, but many diets formulated for senior dogs lack sufficient protein. Older dogs can also benefit from foods that include supplements like omega-3 fatty acids. At the same time, all dogs are different and many need different types of food to cater to their individual needs. Websites like Pet Life Today can help you evaluate different senior dog foods and find the best option for your dog in terms of nutritional composition and ingredient quality. 

Exercise Regularly

Exercising your senior dog regularly will keep their body healthy, their mind sharp, and their weight under control. Not only is walking important for exercise, but it’s a great source of mental stimulation! Walking your dog—especially in unfamiliar areas—gives your dog a chance to explore new smells, observe other animals, and socialize with other people. All of this mental stimulation will keep your senior dog healthy, help them alleviate boredom, and lower their stress levels. Just remember to acknowledge your dog’s limits. With senior dogs, it’s best to let them set the pace so you can avoid pushing them too hard.

Address Hygiene Concerns

Staying on top of your dog’s hygiene needs will also keep them healthy in their golden years. Regular grooming, for example, will help to maintain a healthy coat and skin. Nail trims will protect your dog’s foot structure and reduce infections. Teeth cleanings will help your dog avoid dental decay and oral diseases that can affect their heart health. Also, when you’re grooming your dog, you get a chance to check rashes, infections, lumps, ticks, or any other visible health concerns that require immediate attention. 

Visit the Vet

Regular visits to the vet make up an extremely important element of preventive care for senior dogs. Most experts recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every 6 months! As dogs get older, their health can change rapidly. It’s important to catch potential problems as early as possible so you can prevent them from becoming major issues. In addition to visiting your vet regularly, make sure you know where to go if your dog needs immediate care. For example, an animal emergency care center like South Metro Animal Emergency Care will treat your dog’s urgent or emergency needs when your primary veterinarian is closed.

Spend Time Together

Dogs love to spend quality time with their family members. Although your life may be busy, try to carve out more time for your furry friend. Spend time together playing, taking walks, exploring new trails, and relaxing on the couch. Training is always an excellent bonding activity for pets and their owners and it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! Whatever activities you do with your dog, cherish every moment you spend together and make the most of this time. 

Although it’s a hard fact to face, all pets grow old. The least we can do is make their golden years a little more enjoyable by staying on top of their health and filling their days with fun activities. For more information on pet care, training, and health concerns, check out the client information resources on the South Metro Animal Emergency Care website!