Watching a dog’s grow from puppyhood to the golden years is one life’s greatest adventures. And one of the hardest. Here’s how to help your dog age gracefully!
Our dogs devote their entire lives to us, providing unconditional love, a million reasons to smile, and offering a helping paw when it’s needed the most. They always forgive us when we come home late or accidentally step on their tail.
It is up to pet parents to give that same amount of love in return, especially as they approach the golden years and need a little bit of extra care.
Caring for a senior dog may feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be! Understanding the special needs of our aging four-legged family members, a variety of products are available to help your pet enter the golden years with grace and dignity. Below are a few of our favorite ways to help your dog adapt to growing old.
Stairs and Ramps: The first signs of aging that most pet owners notice in their older dogs include slowing down and losing interest in things like jumping on the bed or hopping into the car. You can help your aging dog continue to enjoy sleeping on the bed and going for car rides with products that make it easier and less painful for them to participate in these activities. Pet stairs placed next to the bed or sofa will help an old dog that can no longer jump up.
And, a pet ramp can make it much easier for a senior pup to get into and out of the car or up and down a set of steps. For senior dogs on-the-go, a folding pet ramp kept in the trunk means you’ll always have an easy way to provide assistance no matter where your travels take you.
Senior Dog Supplements: As our dogs grow older, they’ll develop a variety of nutritional and supplemental needs. In addition to providing a healthy, senior-appropriate diet, an aging dog will benefit from the addition of supplements designed to support their changing needs. If they’re showing signs of joint pain or discomfort as most senior dogs do, a joint supplement will be beneficial. You may also consider supplements that provide a boost in immunity, support a healthy heart, or one that aids in preserving cognitive function. As with any supplement, speak to your veterinarian before feeding.
Elevated Feeders: Parents of larger breed dogs will want to make mealtimes more comfortable for their “golden oldies” by raising their food and water bowls to a more comfortable height. Elevated feeders can help reduce pain by raising the bowl to a more natural level, eliminating the need for your dog to bend his head to floor level to eat and drink.
Dog Boots and Socks: As they age, dogs begin to lose muscle mass and, as a result may find it difficult to sit, stand, and walk on smooth surfaces like tile, wood, or laminate flooring, and as a result can slip and fall. And, those slips can sometimes result in serious injury. Senior dogs will benefit from wearing a pair of non-slip socks or boots that provide traction on slippery surfaces. If your dog isn’t comfortable with wearing socks or boots on his paws, toe grips can help provide traction without being cumbersome or uncomfortable. These tiny rubber tubes slip over a dog’s toenails and help paws grip the floor surface. Also remember to keep the fur between paw pads and on the bottom of your dog’s paws trimmed and groomed to help stop your dog from slipping.
Soft Toys: Senior dogs generally have more dental issues, like missing or broken teeth, sore gums, or a weaker bite than their younger counterparts. For these reasons, you’ll want to look for dog toys designed especially for seniors. Senior dog toys may be softer or lighter weight, making them easier to pick up and carry. They may be brightly colored for better visibility by dogs with diminishing vision. Or, some have added features especially to soothe sore gums and clean teeth.
Orthopedic Bed: Because older dogs spend many more hours laying down or sleeping than younger dogs do, having a bed designed to cushion joints, ease pressure, and allow for proper alignment of the spine are important for their quality of life. Orthopedic pet beds aren’t just for luxury or comfort, they’re considered an essential item for senior dogs.
Diapers, Belly Bands, & Pee Pads: Accidents often happen when your dog grows old. Thankfully, diapers, belly bands, and pee pads aren’t only for untrained puppies. They can be very useful in helping dogs who don’t have full control over their bladder or bowels as they age – and helping owners of senior dogs who would otherwise spend time cleaning pet messes.
By giving your senior dog extra love and making special adjustments to meet her needs, you can help make your older pup’s years healthier and happier.