Matt Maldre once said that age is not about how old you are; it can only be quantified by the number of years of fun you have had. Therefore one dog in Tennessee, the oldest living golden retriever in history, can only be happy that even when the time comes for her to leave this world, she will have beautiful memories to take with her. Usually, a dog’s lifespan ranges between 10 and 13 years; hence this dog’s twenty years are quite an achievement. All the same, even if your canine does not get to leave as long as Augie, there are still a few ways you can ensure he is comfortable in his old age through the tips outlined below. However, first, let’s check out Augie’s story.
The third time was a charm
In 2000, August was born, and the world was not kind to her. Although she ended up in the shelter and was adopted twice, the adoptive parents still returned her, but it was never her fault. She must have almost given up on ever finding a forever home at the age of 14, but her story was about to take a beautiful turn. A couple, Steve and Jennifer, were active volunteers at their local golden retriever rescue organization, and when they saw August, they knew they had to take her home.
At the age of 14, August would probably spend the remainder of his life in the shelter since most people prefer adopting puppies. The couple, therefore, decided to make a difference in the dog’s life, and today August is blessed to have such loving parents. They even got her three golden retriever siblings to ensure she never felt a moment of loneliness. Besides, as Golden Hearts published, August’s feline siblings further enhance playtime.
Now the years have passed, and Augie is no longer the 14-year- old dog that nobody wanted; she is now a record-holding canine at 20 years old. She celebrated her birthday on April 24, 2020, with a carrot cake, and GoldHeart Golden Retrievers Rescue Organization could not wait to share Augie’s adorable birthday photos on Facebook. Of course, just like in humans, age comes with a few health complications, although Augie can be said to be surprisingly healthy.
The only issues she has developed are a need for subcutaneous fluids, which she gets twice every week to ensure she remains well hydrated. Her kidneys, on the other hand, have also been failing since she was 14. Consequently, her meals have had to change to include a combination of dry and wet Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d to ensure she does not develop metabolic acidosis. Augie also takes her time to stabilize when she gets up, but she has been taking supplements and regular walks to keep her joints healthy.
Taking care of your senior dog diet-wise
While some foods should be avoided to dogs of any age, others should not be given to senior digs because they may lack the required nutritional value. For instance, most dog food manufacturers will use gluten as a meat substitute, yet senior dogs need the right amount of protein to ensure that they maintain their muscle mass. Unfortunately, gluten is only a filler in the meal than actual meat; hence manufacturers use it to cheat the buyer into thinking they are buying a nutrition-packed product. Gluten is low in some of the amino acids needed to sustain a dog’s health.
The Grateful Dog further explains that most countries allow dog food to contain 4-D meat meaning that the meat is sourced from disabled and diseased animals. However, since they have a reputation to protect, dog manufacturers will never tell you that. Therefore if you prefer buying processed food for your furry friend, you will not be doing him any favor since the man additives included will lead to diabetes and obesity. Therefore ensure that you feed the senior dog will lots of natural foods since even the dry food will lose its appeal as the dog’s sense of smell fades with time.
Fresh food has the advantage of being whole; instead of trying to enhance digestibility using corn that may cause an allergic reaction, pumpkins sweet potatoes and carrots are excellent sources of fiber. It is, therefore, no wonder that even Steve and Jennifer presented Augie with a carrot cake for her birthday. As for supplements, invest in nature’s best-kept secrets that include turmeric for healthy joints. Finally, although mature dogs need 20% fewer calories than younger canines to maintain a healthy weight, the older the dogs get, the more calories they will need to add weight; hence increasing the fat and protein content in their meals is crucial.
When you should be worried about your senior dog
Jennifer talked about how Augie struggles to maintain her balance when she gets up, but can still move around with ease. For a twenty-year-old dog, it is no mean feat since with aging, comes more health problems, PetCareRX discloses that the common issues associated with aging dogs include weight change, disorientation, lethargy, diarrhea among many more. However, some problems should not be taken lightly since they may be an indication of a much more serious disease. Therefore even if your old dog may already show signs of being unable to walk over long distances, if he seems uninterested in exercise anymore, then he may be suffering from congestive heart failure.
Even if we have said that senior dogs lose weight, it should not be a chronic weight loss. A dog that persistently loses weight no matter how well you feed him could have diabetes. Since diabetes causes poor absorption of sugar, your canine will have an increased appetite; thus, the food will not be of much help in helping him to gain weight. However, too much weight gain should also be cause for concern since it could indicate that your pet has hyperthyroidism. Obesity only results in worse problems such as osteoarthritis hence ensure that you monitor your dog’s weight.