An Elderly Dog’s Guide to Aging

Getting old is a delicate process. That’s true for both humans and dogs. Unfortunately, dogs hit their elderly days much sooner than we do, and we need to prepare to help keep them as comfortable as possible.

Dogs give us unconditional love and companionship their whole lives, so why wouldn’t we take a few simple steps to making their senior days a little easier? Not only that, but it may increase the time they have left.

Suggested: Caring for Senior Dogs: Pug Edition

When dealing with senior dogs, or pets in general, you need to understand the problems that they suffer with. Some may be more apparent than others. Here are some common problems, and solutions on how to help the furry friends in your home.

Dealing with Lack of Mobility

Lack of mobility can be caused by many things. Most commonly it can be attributed to issues with your pet’s joints.

Slipping

Due to lack of movement, muscle capacity, pain due to movement, and reaction time, we have to limit the amount of surface area our dogs can slip on. This means laying down more rugs or carpet to help them get a grip. If a dog slips on a hardwood floor or tile, it could lead to serious pain or even broken bones. If your home is mostly filled by slippery surfaces, it may be wise to look into booties or slip resistant socks.

Necessities

Another issue that arises from lack of mobility is accessibility of bedding and food. Be sure to update your dog’s bedding if it’s been a while. Their joints and bones become more delicate, which may call for softer bedding that’s more accessible. Food and water bowls that are easily used are also important. There are food bowls that are made specifically for elderly dogs.

Stairs or Obstacles

While stairs were possible when your dog was younger, for an elderly dog it may be impossible.  That’s why ramps can be a great addition to make your home more accessible. It may not make sense to have a ramp going into the second story of your home, but ramps up your porch steps can make a huge difference.

Decrease in Primary Senses

It’s not uncommon for elderly dogs to lose hearing or sight while they age. Dogs are an adaptive species, and can adjust to the changes quickly, but you’ll also have to adjust. Losing primary senses can be scary or stressful for your dog.

Keep Your Home Familiar

Familiarity is key when caring for a blind or deaf dog. When other senses die down, dogs rely on scent, touch, and memory to get by. Introducing new factors into their life can cause problems. This includes a new layout to the house, new faces or people, and loud noises. Try to keep your furniture laid out in relatively the same way. Dogs can adjust to redesign, but if you want to make it easy on them, do it slowly. If you have guests over, properly introduce them to your elderly dog. A gentle touch or sniff can go a long way, as elderly dogs can get spooked and be defensive if approached too quickly.

Reduce Loud Noises

Loud noises can cause stress or anxiety with your elderly dog. With lack of hearing or sight comes uncertainty and confusion if strange noises arise. For example; although leaving the TV on for your dog can be good for separation anxiety, with elderly dogs it could leave them thinking it’s something such as an intruder.

By reducing loud noises, you’ll reduce unnecessary stress for your elderly dog. Furthermore, if your dog is deaf, make your presence known when you’re in the house. Practice walking up behind your dog and gently touching them so they get used to surprise situations. Taking a few extra steps can help an elderly dog significantly. Take some time to find out how you can make your home more accessible, and your dog’s life a little more comfortable.

About the Author

Matt Barnett is an avid dog blogger. When he isn’t working on Dog Dojo, you can find him exploring Sydney and Australia.

Read More: How to Memorialize Your Senior Pet

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