Our furry friends are important family members, and we want them to live their best life. As our dogs age, their needs change. Much like people, their joints become stiffer and less flexible; for many, arthritis sets in. They can also suffer from cognitive degeneration as they get older, just as humans do. While aging is inevitable, there is plenty you can do to improve your senior dog's quality of life. Here, we will explore some products to consider aimed at enhancing your furry friend's life.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids, such as those found in Omega-3, are a necessary supplement for dogs throughout their lives and can be incredibly helpful as our canine companions age. Fish oil is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. It contains two excellent sources of Omega-3, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). Both sources of Omega-3 have been found to reduce inflammation. Fish oil is attributed to heart health, shiny coats, and relieving joint pain.
Dietary fats work together to contribute to a healthy system for your canine. Omega fatty acids, in particular, are not naturally produced in the dog's body. However, providing supplements is the only way to deliver the benefits from them. Omega-3 helps balance out Omega-6, which is often found in dog foods. Balance is critical in allowing the body to utilize these fatty acids, as many canines have an overabundance of Omega-6 as a result of their diet.
Omega-3 can support aging dogs in several ways. One of the most important aspects of adding Omega-3 for your dog's diet is to manage arthritis. It may reduce inflammation in your dog's joints, which will result in less pain and better movement. Another way in which Omega-3 may contribute to the health of your aging friend is by supporting brain function. The component of Omega-3, DHA, has been linked to improving brain health and for elderly dogs, improving cognitive dysfunction. Over half of aging dogs suffer from cognitive impairment; DHA may improve the outcome. Omega-3 may contribute to a lower incidence of symptoms that accompany cognitive impairment, including pacing behaviors and restlessness.
In addition to providing Omega-3 for joint health, another great option to support joint health
is joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements improve the joint's function by increasing the production of joint fluid and helping healthy cartilage generate within the joints. Many senior dogs suffer from degenerative joint disease, and this supplement may allow for marked improvements. Dogs can use human-grade supplements but check with your vet to understand the correct dosage. These joint supplements often require a loading dose for some time, followed by a maintenance dose.
Turmeric contains curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; anti inflammatories reduce inflammation in the body and antioxidants can slow down aging, degeneration, and even potentially increase life span. When turmeric is combined with black pepper it readily increases the bioavailability (amount available to be used by the body) of the curcumin found in turmeric, you can also help to increase the absorption of it by including a fatty acid, such as Omega-3 as stated above.
We all want our aging canines to be comfortable throughout their day; orthopedic beds allow their slumber to be free of pain. Many older dogs suffer from osteoarthritis and painful joints. Just as in humans, our dogs tend to get stiff while they rest. Orthopedic beds come in various sizes and qualities; when choosing one for your older pal, ensure that it is an appropriate size. An excellent orthopedic bed is one that will provide plenty of cushioning for your pet, especially for the elbows, hips, and knees. A good rule of thumb is that the dog should not feel the floor lying on or getting up from the bed. Look for a good mattress that has a removable cover so it can be washed. Your senior pal will thank you!
If your home includes a lot of bare flooring, such as wood or tile, your older friend may find it difficult to walk or regain their footing after sitting or lying down. Much like in humans, our canine friends lose the ability to be agile and quick on their feet. This, along with a hard-to-grip surface, is an accident waiting to happen. Whether a pulled muscle or an injury to the spine, avoiding slipping is the best bet for our elder pups. Several possible solutions eliminate the issue. If your best friend allows, you can use anti-slip socks or boots designed for puppy feet. You can also put stickers on the pads of your dog's feet, which in turn provide the needed traction to keep from slipping. Another great option that uses your dog's natural traction control is nail tips. These go onto your pup's nails, enabling them to use their nails for traction. With these options, your canine pal can again feel safe on hard floors.
Ramps and Stairs
Frequently as our pets age, their ability to jump up on beds and couches becomes an impossible task. Protect your pup while enabling them to access their comfy spots by providing a set of carpeted stairs. Just place them next to the piece of furniture and help them get used to going up and down them. If your best pal goes everywhere with you, a ramp will provide a safe way for them to get into your vehicle. Ramps can also be used on stairs around the home, particularly those that access the yard area used to relieve themselves. Providing safe access to areas your pup is accustomed to visiting will contribute to their well-being and allow them to maintain a good toileting routine.
Our dogs are precious family members that face similar issues as we do as they age. We can do a lot to help them along, allowing them to age gracefully while maintaining an excellent quality of life.
Be sure to check with your vet, especially if your dog is on any medications as this advice is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.