Boxers are like fine wine; they just keep getting better with age.
A 7 year old Boxer will often be considered a senior in the eyes of his veterinarian. Like most seniors, a Boxers age can catch up with them, which makes it more difficult to run, play and jump around like they could in their younger years. Whether or not you have experienced life with an older dog, it’s important to know the basics on how to keep your pet comfortable in his senior years. Here are four tips to help keep your aging Boxer healthy and happy:
1. Tips for Easing Joint Pain
As a pet owner, it’s heartbreaking to see your Boxer in pain, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to minimize the pain. First, it’s important to recognize the sign of hip and joint problems in your dog. Symptoms include; difficulty getting up and down, slow or stiff when moving, limping, and favoring one leg (source). Below are some options to help ease the pain. Please note these are just simple methods, if you believe your pet is experiencing abnormal pain, please seek immediate medical attention.
Supplements- Joint supplements are used to promote healthy cartilage and joint health. Most contain glucosamine, MSM and green-lipped mussel.
Low-impact exercise- Exercise will help keep tendons and ligaments flexible and circulate blood to stiff joints (source).
NSAIDs- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. More specifically, aspirin which is an over-the-counter NSAID, can be used as a short-term pain reliever. Be sure to purchase coated aspirin as it’s easiest on the dog’s stomach. Contact your vet for information on the appropriate dosage for your pet.
2. Recommended Amount of Exercise for a Senior Dog
Professionals recommend exercise to keep joints loose and limber. But how much exercise is too much? Here are some tips for exercising your senior Boxer:
Regular walks, but keep it relatively short
Swimming is an excellent activity to maintain exercise while not hurting the joints
Limit non-stop games of fetch or long walks because it causes fatigue
Range of motion exercises will help your dog move around easier. One article from Slimdoggy.com recommends having your dog sit or lay down and have them follow your hand (treat in hand) as you slowly move it away from them, side-to-side and back towards their flank so they get a good stretch.
3. Recommended Number of Vet Visits Per Year
Should your annual vet visits increase as your dog gets older? Absolutely. The ASPCA recommends a wellness checkup every six months to maintain your pet’s health.
Unfortunately, Cancer is a serious concern for Boxers. More specifically, lymphoma so it’s important to keep an eye out for suspicious tumors. They are also prone to hip dysplasia, hereditary heart disease and hypothyroidism, making routine checkups even more critical to your pets health.
4. Feeding Older Dogs
Obesity is a common problem with older dogs because they don’t exercise as much and/or continue to intake the same amount of calories as they did in their younger years. It’s important to note that although the calorie intake should be less, protein levels shouldn’t decrease with age because it maintains and promotes good muscle mass. In addition to protein, your dog should be eating food that’s high in fat and fiber.