“Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.” -Bonnie Wilcox
There is nothing like being in love with a brand new puppy…the sloppy licks, the sharp nails and soft fur – they are so cute and cuddly, so easy to love. But to be lucky enough to have earned the love of an old dog, there is nothing better than that – grey faces, cloudy eyes and years of friendship.
As our dogs grow older their needs change and the way we care for them changes too. The times we take them to the vet increases and their general behaviors change – they aren’t puppies anymore. With that we need to make extra efforts to make them more comfortable as they age, adjust their diet and manage their weight and assist in their mobility.
Baby your senior pup with a bounty of beds and blankets. While it seems that all any dog does is sleep, senior dogs need much more sleep than they did when they were younger. iHeartDogs explains that the softer the surfaces they lie on, the better. The older your dog gets, the stiffer they get due to arthritis and other factors so we want them to be as comfortable as possible and not have restful time be painful time. Wag Labs suggests to look for the following signs if you suspect your aging pup has arthritis: stiffness and difficulty in rising after resting, indoor urination, muscle atrophy, joint licking and reluctance to jump or to be as active as they usually have been. On the same token, we don’t want them to get too hot either…a fan will help with the heat. Your dog will thank you.
Direct your dog’s diet to a different dimension. While we are on the subject of comfort, changing up your pet’s diet will help with weight management therefore decreasing the effects of arthritis or other growing pains. Woman’s Day suggests looking for more low-fat options with high-quality proteins and beneficial supplements like glucosamine for joint health. Also watch the amount of treats that are given to older pets because extra calories add up and will deter your dog’s comfortability. And don’t forget about dental care! Over time your dog’s teeth wear down so it is important to brush their teeth regularly to counteract tarter buildup, gingivitis and gum disease. Your dog will appreciate it.
Sit. Stay. Slip? Surprising…but yes, as our puppies become seniors they do have a tendency to slip and slide on slippery floors. To help prevent slips, PetHelpful suggests placing rugs or yoga mats on tile, linoleum and hardwood floors and to provide booties to navigate these floors better. Lavasox are ideal for this because they have a rubber sole that provides a fantastic grip on wood and tile floors. As an added bonus, they will protect against hot surfaces, dirt and debris. Plus they are made with a breathable mesh fabric that will keep your senior’s paws cool and the stretch velcro closure keeps them on securely. Another way to help with mobility is to install a ramp or shallow stairs so your dog can access couches, beds and vehicles easier according to Redfin. Your dog will adore you for it.
When we first got our puppies, we went through potty training, teaching them not to eat our shoes and to not bark when the doorbell rings. When they graduate to become seniors we go through incontinence and diapers, get them to eat well to promote good weight management and…to not bark when the doorbell rings, yeah, still haven’t mastered that one! We are constantly there for our dogs because they are our family. As they grow older…comfort them, nourish them and keep them safe. Your dog will love you for it.
“When I am old and grey my step might be slower. I may not hear as well. I may not see as well. I may not feel as well. But…My love will be the same. My devotion will be the same. My appreciation will be the same. My heart and soul are grateful for all that you have done and do…When I am old and grey.” -Bridget Willoughby