Tips for Caring for Your Newly Adopted Senior Dog
When most people decide to get a dog, they have their hearts set on a puppy. But there are several great reasons to consider adopting an older dog from an animal rescue like Muttly Crew instead. Often, older dogs are already housebroken and are less likely to be destructive chewers, which should be great news for your carpets and furniture! Plus, senior dogs tend to be easier to train because they’re calmer and have better impulse control. Adopting a senior dog can enrich your life in countless ways. Although senior dogs come with a few unique care needs, there are several steps you can take to keep them healthy and comfortable for many years to come. Here are some tips to prepare your home and life for a senior pup!
Consider Nutritional Needs
Did you know that senior dogs have special diet requirements? According to VCA Hospitals, senior dogs benefit from a diet that consists of fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, and more protein. Many dog foods that are formulated for senior pups also include beneficial ingredients like probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants to combat the effects of aging. Check out senior dog food reviews to find a brand that meets your requirements in terms of nutritional composition and ingredient quality.
Keep in mind that switching a dog’s diet can trigger intestinal upset. If possible, try to transition your dog onto their new diet slowly by mixing it with their old food for a week or so. This will minimize irritation to their digestive system and can help you avoid messy accidents in the house.
Set Up a Safe Space
It can take dogs a while to get settled in a new environment. Before bringing your dog home, set up a comfortable space where they can escape from all of the excitement and relax. Choose a spot that’s quiet and calming, but not too far away from the household action. Most dogs want to be close to their owners, even when they’re taking time out from socialization. A nook under the stairs or a quiet corner of the living room could work well. Finally, get a cozy bed and make sure your dog has plenty of room to stretch out and sleep.
Make Your Home Accessible
Dogs can have a hard time getting around the house as they grow older, but a few modifications can help make their lives a lot easier. For example, raised food and water bowls can reduce strain on your dog’s neck when eating and drinking. If your dog has trouble jumping up on the couch or descending the stairs to your yard, build or buy a pet ramp to give them a boost.
Make Time for Exercise and Mental Stimulation
While older dogs may seem content just lying around the house all day, regular exercise and mental stimulation are crucial for their ongoing health. Letting your dog out into the backyard to run around is a good way for them to get some physical exercise. However, daily walks are also important for stimulating your dog’s mind and feeding their curious nature. Try to walk your dog in new and familiar places to give them a good mix of comfort and variety. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize your senior dog’s limits. You may have to keep your walks on the shorter side or offer a hand when navigating stairs or other uneven terrain.
Being a great dog owner starts with choosing the right pup for your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a loyal dog who is ready to join you for walks and movie nights on the couch—without requiring constant training and supervision—consider adopting an older pet! Caring for a senior dog isn’t as challenging as you may think. In fact, it’s a lot easier than raising a puppy. With the right supplies and preventive health strategies, you and your new dog will enjoy many rewarding years together!
If you’re ready to bring home a new four-legged friend, the best way to support the local animal community is through adopting or fostering a rescue. At Muttly Crew, helping fur babies find their forever home is our main mission, and we're dedicated to the care and rehoming of animals that have been hurt, abused or abandoned. Visit us today to find your new furry friend!