Are you seeing more and more grey hairs each day? Noticing a loss of spring in the step? Is there some morning stiffness when there never used to be? No, it’s not you, well, I guess it could be you, but I’m talking about your furkid.
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then your faithful companion is becoming a senior pooch. Here are a few tips to help you help your pooch.
1 – Increase veterinary visits. Just like us humans, our dogs need extra care in their senior years. Make sure you bring your dog for more frequent vet visits and ask your vet about a “senior care” program.
2 – Decrease the duration and intensity of exercise. My mom used to walk 5 miles per day. When she hit 85, she said, I just can’t do it anymore.” No kidding! Well, it’s no different for your little hairball. If you run/jog with your dog, yes, s/he may be keeping up with you but at what price? Your pooch will stay with you despite muscles and joints screaming in pain so ease up! Make exercise shorter and less intense.Grass vs concrete.
3 – Increase potty breaks.Yes, as we age, our bladders become less proficient. The same goes for Fido. Make sure you give your pooch more opportunities to relieve his/her bladder.
4 – Give softer chewies. If your senior dog still enjoys chewing, switch to softer chews that are easier on ageing teeth and gums.Hey, none us can eat or drink the way we did when we were younger – the same goes for your pet! Reduce rich, fatty foods and offer a gentler diet.
6 – Don’t be stingy with meds. If your furkid has been experiencing pain and stiffness for which your vet prescribed pain meds or anti-inflammatories, then give him/her those meds. Some pet parents are afraid of possible long-term side effects of meds but at this point in your dog’s life it is more about quality than quantity. Why let your beloved companion suffer when you can ease his/her pain?
7 – Provide a soft bed for sleeping. Has your ageing dog who has always been a “tile floor kinda mutt” now seeking rugs/carpets for sleeping? If you haven’t already, it may be time to provide a soft bed for your baby. Sleeping on the floor may be fine for kids and adolescents but mature humans and dogs prefer the comfort of a soft, cozy bed.
8 – Baby it’s cold outside! Most dogs prefer cooler temperatures but as they age, they have less tolerance for cold. Try to keep his/her sleeping area comfortably room temperature and free of drafts.
Some DON’T like it hot, hot, hot. In general, any temperature extremes become more difficult for your mature mutt. In summer, provide plenty of shade, cool water and, if possible, air conditioning.
9 – Some DON’T like it hot, hot, hot. In general, any temperature extremes become more difficult for your mature mutt. In summer, provide plenty of shade, cool water and, if possible, air conditioning.
10 – Limit stress. Maybe your rowdy rover enjoyed big backyard BBQ and parties with plenty of music and noise but, as s/he ages, this type of sensory overload can be very stressful for your dog. Give your dog a safe, quiet place in which to “escape it all” and s/he will be the happier for it.
Helen Del Bove is a dog lover and owner first, and a dog trainer second. She knows from first-hand experience the difference dog training makes in the relationship between dog and owner. Without professional training it can sometimes be a frustrating relationship, but with an investment in good training a wonderful transformation will occur.
Tags: senior dog