They say that a dog is a man’s best friend and no statement has ever been truer. Dogs will do anything to please you and will only ask for one thing in return: your unconditional love. As dogs age, their needs change and how you take care of them will need to shift as well. Here are our tips for taking care of man’s best friend, from puppyhood to their golden senior years.
Puppies and Puppyhood
Is there anything cuter than a puppy? No matter what type of dog is your favorite, everyone can agree that all puppies are impossible to resist. Their ears and paws are often out of proportion to the rest of their bodies, they have boundless energy. They find even the single things, like a leaf, to be absolutely fascinating and the most fun ever!
However puppies require a lot of work. They sleep randomly, get into things, bite, and aren’t always the easy to potty train. Despite all of that, raising one to be your companion is extremely rewarding.
Nutrition and Health for Puppies
Puppies require good nutrition for them to grow up to be happy and healthy adult dogs. We recommend purchasing higher-quality food as it will make your puppy’s immune system much stronger, as well as support their growing bones.
Here are some things to consider:
- Different breeds will have different dietary requirements.
- Higher energy puppies will likely need more fats and proteins in their diet than lower energy ones
- Dietary restrictions: some dogs also tolerate grains and carbohydrates more than others
Training and Temperament
You will want to make sure your puppy is properly trained so that they have a good temperament. A dog that knows how to socialize with other dogs and other people is going to be much happier and calmer, and be more pleasant to be around.
Puppy preschools are a great way to introduce your puppy to other puppies, and to teach them the basic commands of sit, stay, and come.
Finally, they need to understand you, as the owner, are in control and the pack leader. This can reduce the overall level of stress in a dog because they’ll have an alpha to turn to — you.
If you’re looking for a hunting dog or a guard dog, train them when they’re a puppy to ensure they don’t develop any bad habits. You won’t have your dog to be aggressive towards friends, nor will you want them to eat your prey, after all.
Adults and Senior Dogs
One thing that everyone agrees on is that dogs do not live nearly long enough. Different breeds will have different average life expectancies, so you should be aware of this to know when your dog will be entering senior hood. For example, a Wolfhound is going to be considered a senior dog much sooner than a Maltese. Understanding where your dog is at in its life will help you look after it.
Nutrition and Health
Considering the nutritional and health needs of an older dog is especially important. As dogs enter their senior years, they will generally start to slow down and their metabolisms will be less. So their dietary requirements will change.
An overweight dog, especially an older one, could find themselves with health issues such as breathing, joint and heart problems. Foods higher in vitamins and lower in fat is generally a good way to feed dogs as they get older. Keeping up their vet visits to check their joints and keep them up to date with their shots is also key to their long-term health.
If you have an older dog with leg or muscle problems, the sooner you get it addressed the better. If your furry friend is limping or having trouble walking on one leg, then you should consider purchasing a Dog ACL brace for them. Getting a properly fitted brace can prevent long-term issues, and can get your friend up and running sooner than ever.
Spending Quality Time with Them
If you are looking for advice on how to look after your senior dog, then the best thing you can do is spend time with them. That is all they want from you. The more time you can spend with your dog, the happier you will both be. Even just sitting and watching TV with them is enough – they don’t care what movie is on, all they know is that their beloved master is in the room with them, and it’s the greatest thing ever.
Relaxing walks to the park followed by a big play is even better. If walking isn’t the easiest for your pup anymore, consider taking them for a swim or give them a nice massage to ease their old joints. They’ll love you for it.
From Puppyhood to Senior Years, Just Love Them!
Dogs are a man’s best friend. They want your companionship just as much as you want theirs, if not more. That means your dog just wants to be with you.
It’s easy to forget, but dogs have no concept of time or sense of a greater purpose. They simply enter the world with joy and energy, and spend their years loving you and being your best friend. Then they get old and tired and eventually slow down and say goodbye. They don’t worry about what they are missing in the future, they don’t think about tomorrow. It’s up to you to define their life and make it the greatest it could be, from puppyhood or senior years.