Making small changes in your house to accommodate your elderly pet can help them feel happier and more comfortable:
• Older dogs may need more rest so offer yours a comfy bed in a quiet, familiar spot. An orthopaedic bed will ease pressure on bones and joints.
• Your dog may prefer warmth more as they get older, so a cosy blanket or heat pad can help them relax. Make sure their sleeping area is free from draughts. They may also appreciate a coat to wear in cold or wet weather.
• Older dogs seem to prefer a routine, so will be less stressed if change is kept to a minimum.
• If your dog is losing their sight, keep your furniture in the same spot.
• Using raised food and water dishes can make it easier for your dog to reach and may improve digestion.
• Slippery floors can be tricky for arthritic or older dogs to walk on so try putting down a non-slip mat for them.
• Avoid stairs if possible
• Older dogs may need to go to the toilet more often so offer yours more frequent loo breaks
• Make sure your dog always has fresh water available to drink and keep an eye out for any changes in their drinking patterns
• You can buy steps or a ramp to help your dog up onto the bed or into the car. With these, dogs expend less effort than jumping and there’s less risk of causing back issues
EXERCISE AND COMPANY
There are many ways you can help your elderly dog lead an active, fun and fulfilling life, and spend quality time with them:
• Instead of taking them out on a long walk or a run, try offering shorter, more frequent walks, which will be easier for them to manage. Not only will this give your dog more opportunities to look forward to and help them maintain their weight, it will also help prevent stiffness from sitting too long.
• Just because they're old, it doesn't mean a dog can't learn new things. Use their intelligence to teach them some games or tricks which can be enjoyable for you both to do together and will stimulate their mind. Using mental energy is a great way to keep a dog occupied and contented.
• If your dog's vision is still good, try teaching them signals. This can also be a good back-up if they lose their hearing. Signals are fun for dogs and are a more natural language for them than words.
• Gentle grooming sessions are a perfect way to bond with your dog and gives you the opportunity to check them over. Dogs with sight or hearing loss will be comforted and guided by your touch.
With some extra TLC, your dog can be happy and healthy in their golden years.
Dogs of more advanced years need specific nutrients in their diet to help keep a spring in their step. We have put together some top tips to help you choose the right food and feed them in the right way to keep them healthy and happy.