As your Shiba Inu approaches old age, you should also start preparing for their older years. Senior dogs require a different kind of care than puppies. Since they are more prone to diseases and illnesses, dog owners need to be more cautious of their health. This is why it is important that you should know how to care for senior Shiba Inus.
What to expect as your Shiba Inu ages?
Your Shiba Inu has grown older and you are starting to see signs of aging. What more should you look out for? Since its immune system has weakened, your Shiba Inu is now at higher risk of diseases and illness, as well as degenerative diseases. This can lead to arthritis and will cause him to slow down. He may not be able to walk or play for longer periods, gets tired easily, and might also have difficulties in getting up, looking for a comfortable sleeping position, and going up and down the stairs.
Several senior dogs also suffer from kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, and other serious health conditions that lead to weight loss, extreme lethargy, and pain. There are also senior dogs that have become immensely passive and have gained excessive weight, causing obesity.
Care for Senior Shiba Inu: Tips and How-to
A Shiba Inu is considered a senior after the age of 10. Once they’ve entered these tender years, it is best to acknowledge that your lovable pooch is not as energetic as before and will be needing more breaks and rest.
Here, we have rounded up the best tips on how to care for senior Shiba Inu.
Regular veterinary visits
As mentioned, senior dogs are more prone to diseases and illness due to their weakened immune system and body. This is why one of the best ways to care for senior Shiba Inu is regularly scheduled veterinary visits. Twice a year is highly recommended. Remember, they might appear healthy but many diseases are good at hiding and will only appear when it has worsened. Vet visits prevent this as your veterinarian will be able to see or predict if a health issue is impending.
A high-quality and balanced diet
The quality of food you feed your dog has a great impact on their health. If you feed them a balanced diet, packed with nutrients and essential vitamins, you are making way for a healthy pooch. For a senior Shiba Inu who is more vulnerable, diet is one thing that dog parents should look out for. It is best to pick a dog food that is designed to cater to senior dogs and targets specific factors such as lessening weight gain.
There are also special diets if your senior Shiba Inu has a heart or liver disease. Diets that contain less sodium are ideal if your dog has heart disease while diets that help control phosphorus, calcium, and other electrolyte levels are recommended for dogs with kidney disease.
When in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.
A senior Shiba Inu has less energy than puppies and adolescent Shibas. Since they have lower energy levels, exercising might be the last thing on their mind. However, this can lead to excessive weight gain and eventually, obesity.
Regular exercise not only helps maintain your older Shiba Inu’s ideal weight but with the right amount and intensity, can also help maintain healthy joints and muscles and is a must-do to care for senior Shiba Inu. They might not be able to walk or run for a long time like when they were young but what’s important is to get them moving at an appropriate pace.
Provide age-appropriate dog equipment
The dog supplies you have at home might no longer be appropriate for your aging Shiba Inu. As they get older, their needs change as well.
For older dogs that suffer from arthritis or other joint diseases, a special bed specifically designed for joint pain might be the best option. Ramps are also extremely useful for your senior Shiba Inu to easily navigate the house like going up on the furniture or getting into the car. Support harness is a good addition to must-have senior dog products too. This allows you to help them walk and climb the stairs.
You can also set up multiple carpets around the house to prevent your old dog from slipping into hardwood or tiles.