How To Care for Senior Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are an absolute joy to have and care for. They are extremely friendly, active, and loyal, which is why Golden Retrievers are the third most popular breed of dog in 2021.
Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs and require a lot of exercises. They are exceptionally active and are great at hunting. This intelligence and intuition make them the breed of choice as service dogs.
While Golden Retrievers are a sturdy and fit breed, they are vulnerable to health issues as they get older. Therefore, caring for them as they get older is essential.
Research shows that domesticated dogs have a longer lifespan than wild dogs. As a pet parent, this is good news. It, however, also means that you can expect your dog to reach old age.
Dogs having a longer lifespan mean they are more likely to experience the signs of aging. Therefore, it is your responsibility to care for your senior dog so it can live a fulfilled life.
Signs of Aging in a Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers start to age at 8 years old. You can look out for some physical signs of aging, such as weight gain, drooling, bad breath, and a loss of fur.
Aside from appearance, Golden Retrievers may also experience signs like loss of sight and hearing, reduced mental capabilities, increased fatigue, and anxiety.
Getting old is not easy. This is why you need to step in and care for your senior dog.
Ways you can Care for Senior Golden Retrievers
Here are the top ways in which you can help care for your senior Golden Retriever:
1. Physical Fitness
Weight gain is a sign of aging in Golden Retrievers. The problem is the weight can lead to your dog becoming less active. Reduced activity leads to decreased stamina and increases fatigue.
Physical fitness and regular exercise are necessary to maintain a healthy weight. Lack of activity is also why the loss of muscle takes place. So, you should ensure that your Golden Retriever remains active and in good shape.
To combat weight gain and inactivity, you must keep your dog engaged. Do activities they normally enjoy, like playing fetch.
Remember not to overexert your dog. Age affects their ability and willingness to move. You must encourage your dog to remain active but do not be forceful.
2. Regular Visits to the Vet
Regular visits to the vet are a necessity. As your dog ages, you need to monitor its health closely. Many dogs develop conditions such as arthritis, cancer, etc. The sooner these conditions get diagnosed, the better. Your dog can start to receive help in the early stages of degenerative conditions.
Dental health is also an important part of caring for your senior Golden Retriever. Have your vet specifically look at your dog’s teeth and the inside of the mouth.
Constantly monitoring your dog’s health is a good idea regardless of their age. But it is even more important as they age since they become more prone to illnesses as time goes by.
3. Groom on the Regular
Dogs love grooming. Using dog brushes for Golden Retrievers to smoothen the fur is a great activity. Since it is like a massage, your dog feels relaxed. Grooming keeps your dog protected from pests such as fleas and lice.
Aside from reducing anxiety, which increases as your dog ages, brushing your dog also helps to identify health issues. Brushing the fur helps to identify any lumps that may develop.
Brushing helps encourage better blood circulation, and it reduces stiffness in the muscles. One reason why Golden retrievers start to gain weight is a lack of movement due to stiff muscles. Movement is made difficult when there is pressure on the muscles.
Just note that if you notice your dog is having mobility issues, it is best to go to a groomer. It can be difficult for senior Golden Retrievers to go in and out of the tub. As your dog gets old,its body becomes weak. It is better to let the professionals take care of the bathing.
4. Adequate Nutrition
A good diet can greatly help to deal with various physical issues. As your dog gets older,it may require extra nutrients. At the same time, you must reduce calorie intake, so weight gain does not set in. weight gain can make your dog less active and lead to even more weight gain.
Change your dog’s diet to pet food made specifically for senior dogs. Senior dog food contains fewer calories but is nutrient-rich.
If your dog is dealing with specific health issues, like dysfunction in the kidneys or stomach, then go for a diet recommended by your vet.
5. Prioritize Comfort
It is only natural to expect your dog’s health to decline as they get older. They will start to experience pain and discomfort more often. While you cannot stop the hands of time, you can make life easier for your pet.
There are plenty of tools available for maximizing comfort for your dog. This includes special cushions, blankets, socks, and boots. In addition to these, you can get orthopedic beds, elevated food bowls, and ramps for your dog to provide support.
Takeaway – Dealing with an Aging Pet
Having an aging dog can be challenging. It can be a difficult process to go through to witness your dog in pain. Aging, however, is unavoidable, but you can minimize the discomfort as much as possible. Your senior Golden Retriever requires a lot of care.
As stated above, you must be mindful of your dog’s needs. You need to monitor them closely for any changes in physical appearance and behavior. Be prepared to provide your dear pet with maximum comfort.
Aging is a natural process. It is not easy to deal with, but with your help, your Golden Retriever can live a fulfilled and happy life. Even with the pain and discomfort, if you give your dog love and attention, it will allow them to be happier and less stressed.
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