Love – It’s not a hard thing to do, we’ve been doing it their whole lives, but when there are incontinence problems or when your dog knocks something off the table because he didn’t see where he was going, it’s easy to lose patience. Remember that aging isn’t easy for you or your pet and that the more love and compassion you show, the more comfortable your dog will become with the changes that he/she is noticing.
Padding – It’s so important to have comfortable spots for your dog to rest – and older dogs rest as much, if not more, than puppies. Often you’ll find dogs resting on the floor but floors are the culprit of arthritic joints and many pressure sores, which are created when the bone (usually a protruding joint) rubs against a hard surface. Sores can easily become infected and they can be especially dangerous for older dogs. While your dog may prefer the floor to a squishy bed, it’s truly not the best place for them to rest. By providing an orthopedic, cushioned, firm surface your dog will experience the support he/she is looking for but with the added benefit of a therapeutic device that protects their joints.
Supplements – Supplements that promote joint health have proven to be beneficial for aging dogs. I can tell a difference in my Clay's gait when I forget to give him his supplement. There are plenty of supplement options to discuss with your vet, but it’s important to find a solution that works for your dog as supplements come in various forms; liquid, pill, chew sticks and treats.
Exercise – We know that exercise is important for all of us, and our aging dogs are no exception. Your senior dog needs to care for his/her body, too. However, it’s important that all exercise regimens be moderate in nature. Don’t push your dog too hard to avoid serious injuries. Give your dog lots of rest and water afterward. And most importantly, stay consistent with the practice to build and maintain muscle mass!
It may not be easy to recognize that your dog is aging at first, but eventually you’ll see the signs. You may notice him/her slow down, take longer naps, or perhaps their hair color and texture changes or their vision and hearing may become impaired. Providing an attentive, comfortable atmosphere will make all the difference in how your dog feels about his/her own changes.
CHSPF is proud to support aging animals. Tell us your tips and best practices for helping your senior dog age more gracefully.