As your dog gets older, winter months get harder for them to handle. Cold, wet weather can make every day a little more painful for your senior dog, and can even be hazardous to his health. The following tips can help you make sure your senior dog stays comfortable all winter long.
#1 – Add glucosamine and chondroitin to their diet
Talk to your vet about adding these to your senior dog’s diet. They help lubricate their joints, which get stiff in the winter months.
#2 – Keep them moving
Just like with us, your dog’s joints and muscles get stiff and sore if they aren’t used. Even though it’s cold and wet out, keeping your senior dog active can help the winter months be less painful.
#3 – Supply extra traction
Many senior dogs start having trouble with balance and traction, especially on slippery surfaces. If you live where it’s icy, wet, or snowy, put boots on your dog’s feet to prevent slipping outside.
#4 – Keep them warm
Cold weather makes old joints hurt. Make sure your house is warm and when you go outside, provide them with proper garments for the weather. This might mean a doggy jacket, depending on your dog’s coat type and the weather outside.
#5 – Take them for a check-up
Because your senior dog may be in more pain during the winter than other months, it’s a good idea to take them to your vet for a check-up. It might even be the first time your dog has acted like he is arthritic. Make sure your pup is taking the proper dosages of their medications and talk to the doc about adding pain meds or upping their current ones if necessary.
#6 – Take them for a swim
There are lots of indoor dog swim centers that are popping up with nice 85-degree water, perfect for old joints. This is a great way to exercise your senior dog in the winter (or any time). Talk your doctor before starting any exercise routine, especially if your dog has a medical condition. And of course, make sure your pup is nice and dry before heading back outside.
#7 – Provide a warm bed
Winter is a great time to get a new bed for your dog – particularly one that will keep him warm. There are beds made to reflect body heat and even ones that are electric (not to be used unsupervised!!). A self-warming, orthopedic bed will make your senior dog quite comfy all winter long.