Labradors are great dogs and although many of us are drawn to them by the ’tissue’ adverts on television there is much more to them than the fact they are the cutest dogs on the planet!
As your Labrador gets older you will find that he won’t be doing many of the things that you have always taken for granted. Jumping up and down when he sees you, running around the house, chasing cats. All these things will slowly stop happening because like humans, dogs get old and they can’t do all the things they once did.
Caring for the older Labrador is such an important task. You should never take it lightly. Being intelligent dogs it comes as no surprise that their minds should be constantly stimulated.
Take your Labrador on more frequent walks, but for shorter time periods. Allow them to interact with dogs and humans and let them play as much as they want. This will not only keep them stimulated but exercise is good in small doses.
Labradors, being big dogs, tend to have hip problems as they get older and this is something that you must take into serious consideration. If you live somewhere with a lot of steps try and limit the amount of steps your Labrador climbs everyday by keeping his sleeping area on your ground floor. Of course make it homely and spare no expense on a good bed, but you will be thankful for not having him struggle up all those stairs. Also, damaged hips can cause any dog to fall while running down stairs so keep that in mind too.
As your Labrador gets older you will no doubt notice that he is not so interested in what is going on round the house. He will be quite content with laying down and occasionally wagging his tail to greet you. Of course there will still be some moments when he can’t contain his happiness and he will shower you with kisses and try to dance on his hind legs! Another point to note is the possibility of him not seeking as much attention as he once did. This is not something to be alarmed about, he still enjoys a belly rub and a cuddle he just doesn’t want to go looking for one.
‘Old Dog Cognitive Dysfunction’ is similar to senility. Many older dogs will suffer from this and it can leave them confused and disorientated, sometimes with memory lapses.
Watching your Labrador get older is not something to be frightened about. He still loves you and needs you to love him. Keep an eye on his diet and don’t feed him anything he shouldn’t have, many Labradors cannot stomach some of the food you might of given them when they were younger and this can result in a runny tummy and some visits to the veterinarian.
The diet is of the utmost importance and a good one will keep the weight down so as not to put any unnecessary pressure on the joints.
Keeping your Labrador’s coat healthy is also a good way to increase blood circulation and stimulation. My Labrador loves having her coat brushed!
So, when caring for the older Labrador, especially yours, remember to provide them with a stable diet, a warm bed, and lots of pampering and plenty of love!
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Read about the older dogs diet
Read about getting the right amount of exercise for your older dog
Read about grooming and the older dog
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