Senior dogs. The mere words make me smile. I live with a senior poodle named Henrietta. She will be thirteen-years-old in September. She is slowing down a bit, she has a hard time getting up and downstairs, uses a ramp to get into our bed and is losing her hearing and her sight. All of that makes me love her even more. She is the light of my life and has given me unconditional love for close to thirteen years — now it is my time to make her life happy, healthy and as amazing as it can be. I cherish her, and her recent health issues scare me, but also have brought us closer.
Whether you have a senior dog with whom you have spent many years or if you’re adopting a senior dog or if you are a pet sitter or dog walker for a senior, you know they deserve the best, right?
How To Pamper Your Senior Dog: 7 Ways
Before you plan which way to pamper your senior you need to understand his personality. Has your pup gotten crankier as he’s gotten older or has he mellowed out?
- Rethink your walks. You may have a puppy or a younger dog who still loves miles-long walks and hiking and climbing. If your senior dog can no longer keep up, you need to rethink her exercise. You may need to take the dogs on separate walks; one where the senior dog can get her exercise and another where your younger dog still gets to work out her energy. If you have a senior dog who is small enough to ride in a stroller or in a carrier, buy one. This way you can still take both dogs on a walk at the same time, but you have accommodated for your senior.
- Reconfigure your home and car. As your dog ages, he may not be able to walk up and down the stairs in your home. He may not be able to jump on and off the bed. The car may give him trouble getting into and out of. You can buy ramps or steps to help your dog get on the bed. A ramp will help your dog navigate both the stairs and getting into the car. If your dog is small enough, you may be able to simply pick him up and carry him, a larger dog, though will require other work-arounds. There are also harnesses to make it easier to lift and help your larger, senior dog.
- Buy a good bed. If your dog lies next to you while you’re working or watching television, make sure he has a comfortable bed. Your senior dog may be suffering from arthritis and a soft bed will cushion his aching joints and muscles. A raised bed will make it easier for your larger sized dog to get into and out of his bed. If you live in an area of the country where it’s cold, consider buying a heating pad specifically designed for dogs and dog beds; a warm bed will make your senior dog and his aching joints more comfortable. When your dog is lying in her bed, whether you’re home or away, turn on DOGTV for her entertainment. The DOGTV programming is scientifically-designed to relax and entertain your dog. Grab your FREE 14-day trial of DOGTV here!
- Invest in raised dog bowls. Your senior dog may have neck and back issues and a raised bowl will make eating his dinner and drinking water less painful. A raised bowl is, honestly, great for dogs of all ages and all sizes.
- Take your senior to the vet regularly. Our dogs hide their ailments — it’s an instinctual pack mentality, only the strongest survive so dogs who are sick, learn to hide it. Most pet parents notice even the slightest of changes in their pets’ health — a limp, a loss of appetite, an increase in thirst, getting up and down more slowly. Talk with your veterinarian and discover whether your pet needs any medication to help him feel better and in less pain. Ask whether he is eating the proper amount of, and the correct type, food for his age. Your vet is your partner in your dog’s health.
- Cook for your senior. There are a myriad of healthy, organic meals and treats you can make for your senior. You don’t have to cook every meal, but once or twice a week, cook him a meal full of healthy proteins, fruits and veggies — yum! Pour some plain yogurt into ice cube trays, drop in some cut up veggies and fruits, freeze and serve. Google “make at home dog treats” or “treats with three ingredients or less” then treat your dog to some homemade goodies.
- Love, belly rubs and massages. Let’s face it, the best way you can enrich your dog’s life is by spending time with him. Give him belly rubs while you’re watching television together. Give her at at-home massage (you don’t have to be a professional); rub your hands all over her body, give her some good scratches and rubs from tip of her tail to the tip of her nose.
What do you do for your senior dog to help him or her feel loved and appreciated? We’d love to know and we would LOVE it if you’d want to share photos of your senior dog with us on our DOGTV Facebook page!