As your dog ages, their health needs change. They may become more susceptible to certain health conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and dental disease. It is important to be aware of these health needs and to take steps to keep your senior dog healthy and comfortable. Various breeds are considered senior dogs based primarily on their size: large breeds start at 6 years, but smaller breeds can be closer to 10 to 12 years, according to the American Kennel Club. Below are some common health concerns for our aging canine friends.
Joint HealthOne of the most common health concerns for senior dogs is joint pain. This is often caused by arthritis, a degenerative condition that can cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis can make it difficult for your senior dog to move around and can lead to a decrease in activity level and quality of life.
There are a number of things you can do to support your senior dog's joint health, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints and can worsen arthritis.
- Providing regular exercise. Exercise helps to keep the joints strong and lubricated. However, it is important to avoid activities that are high-impact or that put too much stress on the joints.
- Feeding a high-quality diet. A nutritious diet can help to reduce inflammation and support joint health. Look for a diet that is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and low in carbohydrates.
Senior dogs are also at increased risk for osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. This can lead to fractures and other bone problems.
There are a number of things you can do to support your senior dog's bone health, including:
- Feeding a diet that is high in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium.
- Providing regular exercise. According to PetMd, more than half of senior dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Exercise can help stimulate bone growth and development.
- Avoiding certain medications. Some medications, such as corticosteroids, can weaken the bones. If your dog is taking any medications, talk to your veterinarian about the potential side effects.
Dental disease is another common health concern for senior dogs. According to Cornell University - College of Veterinary Medicine, even with regular cleanings studies show that 80-90% of dogs over the age of 3 have some component of periodontal disease. As dogs age, their teeth can become plaque- and tartar-covered. This can lead to gingivitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious condition that can cause tooth loss and bone damage.
There are a number of things you can do to keep your senior dog's teeth healthy, including:
- Brushing their teeth regularly. This is the best way to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
- Providing dental chews. Dental chews can help to clean the teeth and gums.
- Taking them to the veterinarian for regular dental cleanings. This is especially important for senior dogs, who are more prone to dental disease.
Natural Ingredients for Senior Dog Health
In addition to the above-mentioned tips, there are a number of natural ingredients that can help to support your senior dog's joint, bone, and dental health.
- Green-lipped mussels: Green-lipped mussels are a natural source of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are substances that help to lubricate and protect the joints. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Calcium: Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and support joint health.
- Chondroitin: Chondroitin is a GAG that helps to protect and repair cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints.
- Glucosamine: Glucosamine is another GAG that helps to produce synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.
- DHA: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain health and cognitive function. It can also help to reduce inflammation and support joint health.
These beneficial ingredients can be found in N-Bone Senior Dental Rings, Get Naked’s Biteables Senior Health Soft Bites, and Get Naked’s Senior Health Dental Sticks. You can easily help your senior dog’s health challenges by giving them these treats each day. Your dogs will enjoy the delicious chicken flavor while benefiting their health. You can find N-Bone and Get Naked at your local pet store, chewy.com, Petco.com, and amazon.com.
By following the tips above, you can help to keep your senior dog healthy and comfortable. By providing your dog with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and treats that use natural ingredients, you can support their joint, bone, and dental health, and help them to live a long and happy life.