Aging happens to everyone. Expect natural changes to occur as you age.
The most obvious feature changes that occur to me started on my face.
I was young (about 4 years old) when my White Golden Face started.
As I continue to age it formed a Heart shape but more white fur is forming on my head and the heart shape is fading. You can still see it …
Many natural changes continue to occur on my body.
I plan to discuss these changes on my future posts.
For the meantime, I would like to share an article written by a guest blogger,
Carson Burnett who is a retriever owner and website publisher.
Caring For Your Older Retriever
As with humans, all dogs are going to get older. At some point you will notice that Fido doesn’t seem quite so keen on chasing the cat, or almost overnight, Rover has gotten a gray face. As your Retriever gets older, their needs will change.
Your dog is no longer a playful pup, or energetic adolescent, but a fully qualified geriatric. Your senior Retriever is probably going to need some special requirements including senior dog food, and possibly an orthopedic dog bed. You may start to notice some of these signs of aging with your Retriever:
less tolerance for pups and noisy toddlers stiffness on getting up
problems with stairs
loss of hearing and/or vision
a little more willful
Special needs of the senior Retriever
Diet As dogs age they often require a change of diet. Often food allergies can become worse, or crop up when none were apparent before. Older dogs need fewer calories, but a higher quality of protein, and a diet higher in fiber to compensate for less activity. The inclusion of wheat bran in your dog’s meals can aid in preventing constipation. Your vet will be able to assist with dietary advice and many dogs in their latter years will be on specific diets appropriate to medical conditions.
Orthopedic Dog Bed Do you want to sleep on the floor? What makes you think it is any more comfortable for poor old Fido and his painful hips? An orthopedic dog bed can provide him with comfort and support, ensuring his snoozes are pain free. These dog beds come in a huge variety of styles, sizes and prices.
Decreased exercise. The older dog is still going to love his daily walk. He may just not be able to walk so far or so fast. If your dog is tiring, call it a day. To keep your dog stimulated perhaps you can take him on more drives in the car to prevent geriatric cabin fever setting in.
Reduced Eyesight may mean that your dog has more trouble navigating the steps. As visual deterioration is often slow, most dogs adjust. Be aware of rearranging dangerous objects if Fido is really blind, otherwise he will bang into them or fall off
Deafness may mean that Rover can no longer hear the car coming. Be careful not to run him over. Avoid startling him when he is asleep
Ramps can be fantastic for dogs who can no longer see the steps and also for any Retrievers suffering from hip dysplasia. As the dysplasia worsens, many senior Retrievers find it increasingly difficult to navigate the steps. Ramps mean that you save your back and Fido is still independent for toilet breaks. Portable ramps can also be used to get your dog in the back of the car or SUV. Dog ramps are available in many sizes and designs.
Peace and Quiet Older dogs, like Grandma and Grandpa, often find small children just too noisy. Ensure that your dog has a quiet place she can retire to for some time out. Train the children and any other dogs to let her rest.
Discipline Older dogs can become just a little headstrong. All of a sudden your well behaved Labrador is not quite so obedient. In fact, there may be commands that she will point blank refuse. You may find yourself repeating commands several times. Is this deafness, selective deafness or plain old lady willfulness? Persist until the dog obeys. Obviously if there is a practical reason for non compliance, eg; Rover can no longer jump in the back of the car because of pain, then you will need to find an alternative solution. Your dog may be old, but you are still the boss.
Incontinence is a problem with many older female Retrievers. Thankfully many of them can be cured with estrogen therapy. If this doesn’t work, start limiting your dog to areas that are not carpeted. Replace all bedding with washable substances.
Glucosamine may become a quality of life saver for your senior Retriever. At the first sign of any hip stiffness this is generally the first line of treatment. Natural and safe, the results can be astonishing. (Glucosamine does not work if you heat it up.) Glucosamine can help alleviate the pain and stiffness of hip dysplasia, which many senior Retrievers are susceptible to.
Senior Retrievers have special needs including senior dog food, orthopedic dog beds, ramps, glucosamine, and possibly incontinence therapy. A little extra care will have your best friend living a longer and better life.
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