Loving an old dog is truly a privilege. We’ve all seen heartbreaking stories of old dogs whose “owners” discard them on city streets or deposit them at the local pound in favor a new, bouncy puppy. These individuals have a lot to learn about loyalty and love yet in life. Senior dogs are a wonderful part of the family. If you’re sharing your heart and home with a senior dog, you know their needs change as the years tick by.
Just like people, some dogs seem to mellow out with age, and others tend to grow cranky and set in their ways, but we love them all. They don’t seem to have quite as much energy and enjoy those naps in sunbeams more often, which gives us an excuse to nap in sunbeams with them. They’re comfortable with you and you’re comfortable with them. Over the years, they’ve become ingrained in all of your daily routines and you couldn’t imagine life without them. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to make life easier for our furry friends, especially those with white muzzles.
Here are 9 ways to help make life better for the senior dog in your life.
Provide a private place. It’s especially important that a senior dog have a place of his own in your home where he feels safe. This is a place he can go if he feels overwhelmed by the activity, people, and noise in your home. Ideally, this would be located in a quiet, warm area of your home for your dog’s comfort. You can install a webcam to check on him without disturbing him if you’re worried about his health or well being when out of your sight.
Try a weighted vest. Brands of weighted vest like Thundershirts are wonderful for fearful dogs. If you have an older dog who doesn’t hear so well anymore, you know he can grow fearful during storms and other distressing situations. A Thundershirt is a weighted vest your dog wears to help him feel more snug and secure during fearful times. It’s not for every dog, but it can be a huge help to comfort older dogs during storms and fireworks.
Adjust his meals. Many older dogs experience a slowing down of all body processes, including digestion. This means your older dog may want to eat smaller portions, or smaller portions in divided meals throughout the day. If you notice a change in your dog’s appetite, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to rule out medical problems. If your dog is just not as interested in his food, but is ok medically, he may just be asking for smaller meals two to three times a day.
Take care of his teeth. Older dogs should have regular oral checkups with a trained doggie hygienist or a veterinarian to check for dental decay and doggie gum disease, as these can cause pain and sensitivity in his mouth.
Beef up his bed. While your dog may have prefered to sleep by your feet on the hard floor when he was younger, his older body probably prefers a firm but cushy surface now. This is the time to invest in an orthopaedic dog bed or raise his bed off the floor if you haven’t done so already. If he sleeps with you, you can provide doggie steps to help him get up on the bed.
Keep it warm. If your dog has stiff joints, he’s likely to seek out warm places in your home to sleep. Near registers, in sunbeams, and snuggled close to your warm body are these dog’s favorite places. Adding an extra blanket to his favorite doggie nest and making sure the room temperature is warm enough can help him relax and feel better.
Take care of his joints. Older dogs often have pain. Joints gets stiff, arthritis sets in, and things just don’t feel like they did when he was a pup. Special supplements, like TruDog’s FREE ME joint care supplement, have natural pain relief and ingredients to support healthy joints for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about how to treat your dog’s pain if you notice serious symptoms like limping, guarding a limb, or refusing to walk. Daily pain doesn’t have to be a normal part of growing older for your dog.
Create a bucket list. Don’t wait until you know your dog’s time is down to his very last days to do all those things you want to experience with him. Take him for car rides, visit the beach, give him extra belly rubs. Create your bucket list of things you and your dog like to do together and start living life together to the fullest.
Love him enough for a lifetime. Above all else, your senior dog needs your love. Love, patience, and understanding are the key to his heart, and treating him with respect is a must. He’s done so much to enrich your life, it’s only right that he have all the love he wants as he nears the end of his.
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