Many people who consider CBD oil for dogs are looking for ways to keep their canine active and comfortable as they age. As heartbreaking as it can be, dogs age in much the same way their human counterparts do: they get a little slower, a little stiffer, their weight fluctuates, and their fur goes gray. While we hate to think of our dogs entering the later stages of their life, the senior years can be golden for canines, too!
Supporting your pet in later life will look different than the care you provided in puppyhood and adulthood. Pet owners often have to adapt their lifestyle to accommodate their senior dog’s new behaviors and needs. The first step is being able to recognize the signs of aging in your dog, such as graying fur, stiffness, slowness, fluctuating weight, and changing sleep patterns. Then, in partnership with your veterinarian, you can create a healthy routine for your senior dog that includes exercise, a proper diet, canine massage, and pet CBD.
What are the Signs of an Aging Dog?
There is no exact age when all dogs shift from adulthood into seniority. The aging process is sometimes slow and sometimes so rapid it can seem like it happened overnight. At what age your pet starts to show signs of aging will depend on their breed, size, health history, lifestyle, and other individual factors. The arrival of “seniority” in a dog is impossible to predict, but there are some signs that indicate your best friend is getting on in years: graying fur, stiffness, slowness, fluctuating weight, and changing sleep patterns.
The Appearance of Graying Fur
Graying fur often appears around the face and muzzle in dogs who are getting older. It’s uncommon for a dog’s entire coat to turn gray, but the patterns of graying hair will change from dog to dog. Naturally, if your dog has a coat that is already white or gray, this change will be less noticeable, while dogs with dark fur tend to show this sign of aging sooner. You might also notice some change in the texture of your dog’s fur, such as a rough or more broken coat.
An Increase in Stiffness
An older dog might be slower to get up from their favorite napping spot, or might be more reluctant to jump down from your bed or up into the car. This stiffness usually shows up after your pet has been lying in the same position for a while and their muscles have tightened, especially after a period of rest following exercise.
Moving Around More Slowly
Your senior dog might want to move a little more slowly on your daily walks, or they might take more time getting up and down the stairs in your home. This change in movement is obviously related to the stiffness above, but you might notice a change in their tempo before they start demonstrating the more obvious behaviors listed above.
Greater Fluctuations in Weight
While weight loss or gain is common as dogs age – their metabolisms change just like ours do later in life! – this is a sign of aging that should be closely monitored and communicated to your veterinarian. Weight loss, in particular, can be a concern in dogs of any age. If your pet starts to demonstrate excessive weight loss or loss of appetite, this is a critical sign that should be addressed immediately.
Some pets, as they age, will start to gain weight despite maintaining their diet. This also needs to be attended to, because an overweight pet often suffers more discomfort when they try to move and maintain their healthy activity levels.
Changing Sleep Patterns
As your dog gets older, their sleep patterns might change. They might start sleeping more – taking additional naps during the day or waking up later in the morning. They also might display the opposite trend and have more trouble calming down to sleep at night, or waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or simply pace with nervous energy. Whatever the changes, sleep patterns are often altered as dogs get older. Sometimes this can be a challenge and other times it’s an easy adjustment.
5 Ways to Support Your Senior Dog
Your senior dog’s changing behavior and habits mean you will likely need to change your lifestyle and routine to keep them comfortable and happy. An older dog doesn’t have to give up favorite activities and can certainly continue to lead a happy, full life. There are several easy ways to support your aging pupper’s health by creating a suitable regimen of exercise and diet using your veterinarian’s help. Other small changes to their physical environment, as well as alternative support like canine massage and CBD for senior dogs, can also keep your senior’s tail wagging.
Talk to Your Veterinarian
Veterinarians can offer great tips for how to address your pet’s specific needs. If your dog is slowing down or you have concerns about their weight or other physical or behavior changes, your veterinarian is the best place to start. Together, you and your pet’s doctor can come up with a plan for how best to support Fido and keep him happy and healthy.
Give Your Dog Regular Exercise
Just because your pet is slowing down or seems stiff does not mean you can abandon exercise entirely. It might take a little more cajoling and encouragement to get Bella up off her dog bed these days, but that’s your responsibility as a pet owner. Even senior dogs need regular exercise in the form of walks or a game of tug-of-war. Playtime not only keeps their mind sharp, but keeping the muscles warm and flexible through exercise can also assuage their stiffness.
Feed Them a Consistent Diet
It can be especially tempting to sneak table treats to your pet as they get older. Some might argue puppy dog eyes are nothing compared to the sweet gaze of an older dog! While the occasional human snack is fine for most pets, you need to be careful of your pet’s weight. While a few nightly treats slipped under the dinner table weren’t a problem in their fitter years, those same snacks might start to cause weight gain as your dog gets older.
Also, your pet’s teeth might get more sensitive in old age, requiring you to change their dog food to a softer one or something with smaller pieces. Older dogs also appreciate the soft, chewy texture of our pet CBD soft chews for calming or mobility support, which can make a better wellness option than table scraps for a daily treat.
Provide an Accessible Environment
You can make your senior dog more comfortable by making some small changes to the home environment, too. Your pet might appreciate a fluffier or self-warming bed to protect their joints and legs from the hard floor. Raising their food and drink bowl might also make mealtimes easier on their neck. If possible, reduce the need for them to climb stairs and keep all of their favorite items – toys, food, water, bed – in the same area and nearby.
Maybe Try Canine Massage
Just like people, dogs like to have their muscles rubbed, too, and the benefits of canine massage can be impressive for older dogs who have stiffness or discomfort. In the same way a human masseuse might rub out a knot in your shoulders, you can help your dog stretch and keep their muscles warm and pliable with a few simple dog massage techniques. One easy way to support your senior dog’s comfort is by gently pulling their back legs and stretching them out while they lie down. There are also professional canine masseuses whom you can pay to give your dog the expert, luxury treatment.
Give Them CBD Oil for Dogs
Healthy cannabinoids can be a useful tool for supporting your dog’s general wellness at every age and stage of life, including seniority. Specialty formulas can also help your pet maintain certain lifestyle habits as their aging progresses. CBD Calming Oil with melatonin or CBD Calming Chews with L-Tryptophan can help your pet relax and continue getting a steady, healthy amount of rest, while CBD Hip and Joint Chews for Dogs with glucosamine HCL can help promote comfort and ease of movement.
Enjoy Your Dog’s Golden Years
An older dog can continue to be a great joy for you and your family even as the years come and go. As long as you support your senior dog with proper diet and exercise, regular vet visits, resources like canine massage, and CBD for dogs, you can keep that tail wagging for years to come!