Many people will consider rehoming a pet who is older (but no less cute!) than the run of the mill puppy. This can be a really rewarding experience as these dogs may have been put in a shelter if their original owner died or recently became unable to take care of them, and this can have a severe impact on their mental health. Adopting an older dog will breathe life and vitality into an otherwise confused and depressed existence, and statistics report that those who adopt an older dog have less trouble training and find them easier to integrate into family life. It is, however, important to consider their physical health, and be aware of what conditions can affect them and what to look out for. Here is what you can expect.
These health issues are simply a part of life, and don’t have to impact the quality of life your dog receives as long as you take steps to manage them correctly. Becoming blind is fairly common among older dogs and it can be a gradual process, which doesn’t mean they lose all their eyesight. However, it may require more patience when receiving visual cues or relying more on smells and hearing to ascertain their whereabouts or what is occurring around them. Having a dog with eyesight issues is not the end of the world – simply keep them on a lead on walks, especially around roads. Dogs adapt very well to not being able to fully see, and will be able to navigate spaces easily once they become familiar with them (though probably with some gentle bumping around in the meantime!). Cataracts is also a common condition, which can be caused by disease, although in some cases it can occur at birth.
Arthritis is really common among older dogs, though with supplements it can be treated fairly easily. You can tell when a dog may have arthritis by noticing if they experience discomfort when moving. If they are slow to get up from a lying position, or perhaps show a slight limp when they walk or climb stairs, this can be an indicator of arthritis. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints in a dog’s body wears away or becomes damaged, and this can make moving feel stiff and sore. Regular exercise, weight control to keep pressure off the joints, and anti-arthritic supplements like those offered by YuMove can help your dog overcome arthritis. These supplements include ingredients like glucosamine, which can help prevent the deterioration of cartilage, and YuMove is known as a trusted brand to deliver high quality products.
Unfortunately, studies show that while cancer can happen at any age, they do become more frequent with an older pup. As bodies age, just like with humans, they become more fragile and prone to diseases like cancer. And just like humans, cancer can occur in different areas of the body, like the blood, skin and even in the prostate and breasts in some cases. The more quickly cancer is caught, the more likely it is to be able to treat it effectively, so we recommend routine health check-ups with the vet to ensure good health and to catch anything early. Don’t be afraid to contact your vet if you notice any changes to your pet’s behaviour or body that you think could be a sign of cancer, as it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your pet’s health.
Adapting to Their Initial Defensive Mood
For a lot of older dogs, being adopted into a new family can feel strange and possibly a bit scary, and while in no time they will love you as their family, there can be a transition period which requires patience from the owner. Giving your dog love and affection will help them feel less guarded, but make sure to give them space if they appear to be stressed or overwhelmed. As with all adopted pets, this time is perhaps the biggest change of their lives, and it is important to understand this as an owner.
Kennel cough is very common among animals who have been residing in a shelter, no matter how nice an accommodation they may have been living in. Although you as an owner cannot prevent this, it is important to know what it is, and understand that is it essentially what a common cold is to us humans. This can sometimes make the transition from shelter to your home a little harder, but the best way to combat this is to allow them plenty of rest (although you may be itching for lots of walks and play-time!) and make sure they eat and drink well. If it seems severe or is getting worse and not better, contact your local vet for advice and in some cases antibiotics.
We hope this provided some helpful information and advice for taking on an older dog from a shelter or even a friend.