Four Tips for Living with Older Dogs
Watching your dog get older is one of the realities of life with pets. Lots of articles about senior pet living will focus on (important) topics related to medical treatment, health management and senior training.
But today I want to focus on enjoying and enriching the life of your pooch as they head into retirement. It’s in these years that you and your dog have never been closer.
The personal observations I’ve found as a pet owner watching my beloved pooch move into her senior years revolve around bringing ease and contentment to my dog’s life. Here are my top 4 tips for living with an older dog and making that life so much sweeter for you both…
1. Find Time to Bond
As your pet gets older, some of the activities you’ve enjoyed together may not happen as much any more. For example, your faithful running buddy may not be able to run 5K with you anymore. But that doesn’t mean you should go your separate ways. A leisurely walk around the neighbourhood will do the trick.
Look for new ways to spend time with your dog – snuggling on the couch, weekly doggie massages, and gentle indoor games are all ways to bond with your aging pup.
Remember, as dogs get older, they will generally become quieter and less boisterous, meaning it’s up to you to seek your dog out for attention. This is important especially in busy households where children or younger pets may demand more attention due to their exuberance and activity. While it’s true that older dogs need more rest time, don’t forget to ensure you spend adequate time per day bonding and enjoying time with your pooch. Now is the special time to create everlasting memories.
2. Embrace Alternative Therapies
Like all of us, as dogs gets older, their health begins to suffer. Nowadays dog owners can be much more proactive in their aging dogs’ health. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care can alleviate many signs of aging, while eastern herbs and remedies can assist with anything from digestive to joint issues.
By being proactive with your dog’s health care you can ensure they ease into retirement with wellbeing and vitality. As the old adage says: prevention is always better than a cure.
3. Redesign Your Home
As your dog starts to get on in years you’ll notice they’ll start to struggle with certain actions around the home. By watching out for these changes, you can spring into action straight away to keep their home a safe sanctuary.
It only takes a small amount of updates to ensure your house is senior pet friendly. Colourful ottomans, or footstools, provide the perfect stepping stone for dogs unable to leap onto surfaces like they used to. Outdoor ramps can help with steps or getting into the car. Indoor rugs can provide warm and non-slip areas for them to walk on. Doggy doors allow them to go outside to toilet without having to find household members. Extra blankets and orthopedic bedding provides a comfortable senior’s den.
Start monitoring what your aging dog is struggling with within the home and start to make small adjustments for their ease and safety.
4. Update the Toy Box
Last but definitely not least, go through your dog’s toybox to ensure all of their toys remain suitable. Just because they’re headed into retirement doesn’t mean they want to play bridge!
Play time is such an important aspect of a dog’s day, and ensuring they have the correct tools is vital. Lots of major brands now make senior friendly versions of their popular toys – such as the senior Kong. Look for toys designed to be friendlier on senior teeth and gums, easier to see with diminishing eyesight, and gentler in action to protect their joints and muscles.
Don’t forget to include cognitive toys – such as canine puzzles and treat balls – to keep your senior dog’s mind working away on a daily basis. By keeping their toys up to date your senior dog will play the day away like a pup.
What tips do you have for living with older pets?