Pampering Your Older Dog

February 12th, 2013 posted by Jane Warren

As my dogs get older, I notice that they are less and less energetic. They don’t have that spring in their step any longer and it is harder for them to get around. It also means that they are a lot calmer than they used to be and I can now just sit and pet them for hours (when I have time to sit!). With this slower pace of life, your dog will also have to adapt to other body and medical problems. This means that what you used to do (or not do) for your four-legged friend is going to have to be adjusted for in these twilight years. Here are 3 things you can do that can help your dog grow older more gracefully.

Upgrade Your Dog Supplies

Just like with humans, older dogs develop bad joints and stiff muscles. Help them out by providing some of the comforts that they may not have needed when they were younger. Comforts can include a big, soft, dog bed to sleep on, instead of the hard floor. If they are used to sleeping with you on your bed, get a dog ramp or steps to make it easier for them to get up on the bed, rather than have to try and jump. Also, feed them healthy food, full of the nutrients they need as they age. And watch their weight. Since their activity level will decrease, your dog may be prone to put on pounds, so be sure to provide them food that has less fat. Keep them groomed and brushed. Most dogs will enjoy the extra attention they get with regular brushing; even give them a good rubdown – we all enjoy a good massage from time to time!

Regular Trips to the Vet

As a dog ages, not only will they face achy muscles and joints, but they also start having a harder time fighting off ailments. This is why regular checkups with the veterinarian become important. Your vet may be able to catch problems early enough in your older dog, before they can become life-threatening. Be sure to address their dental care also. Unfortunately, dental disease is very common is older dogs, and preventable. Talk with your vet about the options you have in treating any oral canine issues. Your vet can treat any illnesses, and even possibly old-age issues that your dog is having, with wide selection of pet medications that are available on the market today. If you do not visit your vet, you will never know if there is anything that can be done to increase the quality of life for your older dog or even prolong it.

Don’t Overdo It With Your Older Dog

Your older dog can’t do the things that they used to do when they were puppies. Just like us, their minds may be willing, but their bodies just aren’t. We have already talked about how they don’t have the energy they used to when they were younger, and you shouldn’t push them if you see that they have reached their limit. Wanting an old dog to do something that they do not have the physical energy for can put them in danger of over-exhaustion; it could even cause them a life-threatening trauma. Your aging dog’s body can’t handle the physical exertion that it used to enjoy. A dog that may have been able to run alongside you while you rode a 4-wheeler during a camping trip, or jogged along with you for several miles, is likely to seriously hurt themselves if forced to keep up when they are older. As dogs age, they still need to get out and get some physical exercise in order to keep healthy and be active. Just keep in mind their physical abilities, and enjoy pampering them with love and attention, thankful that they are still part of your family! It reminds me of that sweet quote from Bonnie Wilcox: “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.”

Jane Warren (2 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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