Keep your senior chihuahua fit for old age

A dog is considered senior when they get to eight, for small dogs like chihuahuas who live longer this is extended to ten. There will inevitably be changes to your chihuahua’s mental and physical self as they age but, getting old doesn’t need to be a descent into stiffness and cognitive decline.

Some of the changes you start to see as your chihuahua gets older might be.

More vocal and inclined to startle.

Inflexible about routine.

Separation anxiety creeping in.

Loss of learning.

Lack of joy and optimism.

Reduction in hearing, sight, and taste.

Stiffness and arthritis.

But getting old doesn’t have to be marred by decline, they can have a fit healthy old age.

What we feed is an essential part of keeping our senior chihuahua fit and healthy. A good fresh diet that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress is key. Avoid dry over processed food that is full of carbohydrates. A diet that reduces oxidative stress means mental and physical health for longer.

Food to reduce the ageing brain.

Find opportunities to keep your senior chihuahua moving.

Moving keeps stiffness at bay and keeps your chihuahua mentally active. Play games that promote movement. Mika, who will soon be thirteen, loves to climb. So, we create little balancing paths to keep him engaged. We use yoga blocks and objects with different textures to stimulate the nerves in his paws, build balancing and muscle strength.

Avoid feeding in a bowl which can keep a dog stiff in one position, instead scatter feed and use Kong’s and lick mats for more engagement and fun and that all important movement.

Chihuahuas tend to go from zero to a hundred when triggered and, as they get older, this can escalate. Use games like figure of 8’s or zigzag walking with tiny pace changes that will help grow a middle ground when it comes to arousal levels.

Don’t let them rehearse unhelpful behaviours like barking at the door or out the window. Use calming cues and grow the behaviour you want rather than try and control the behaviours you don’t.

Teach your senior chihuahua new tricks.

Games and tricks help keep a dog mentally sharp. Don’t stop because your chihuahua is getting older. Use those neural pathways or lose them. Simple games like standing on interesting objects, nose touch and spins are all great little games to play with your chihuahua.

Add a brain protection supplement. We love the AKO9 senior. It contains a range of B vitamins, lemon balm and probiotics. Lemon balm is now being trialed on people with dementia with some promising results. How super is it we can do the same for our dogs.