As your senior dog settles into their golden years, you’ll want them to be as comfortable as possible while enjoying the time you have together. Their body and their abilities will likely change. They may not be able to do the same activities as they did before, or they might seem less energetic. Here are some ways to help your furry friend adapt to a different quality of life as they age.
Make Changes to their Environment
Small changes to the environment can make a big difference to an mature dog. Senior dogs can sometimes develop mobility issues and may require special accommodations. For instance, carpet, rugs, and even non-slip dog socks can help your pet gain a more secure footing around the house. Dog ramps can help them navigate onto cars, stairs, and other furniture. If your senior dog is having trouble with stairs, consider moving their bed and other necessities downstairs. Switching to elevated dog bowls can help prevent unnecessary straining on their neck.
In the case of issues with vision, try not to make any changes to the furniture layout that would confuse your dog. If your dog’s night vision starts to wane, adding nightlights around the house can also help.
If you really want to splurge, you can invest in a heated dog bed, or a heated mat for their existing bed. A restful sleep will go a long way towards a healthy aging process, and the heat will help keep their aging joints comfortable. Even if your dog is not suffering from any obvious issues, increasing accessibility in these ways can make life more comfortable for your dog.
Keep Your Senior Dog Active
Active aging is as important for dogs as it is for humans. The old idiom of “If you don’t use it, you lose it” applies just the same. Just like humans, decreased activity will result in muscle loss, which increases frailty. At any age, exercise remains an important part of regulating weight and promoting healthy muscle, joint and bone structure.
As your dog ages, you will have to adjust to exercises that are appropriate for their age and ability. If your dog is struggling on longer walks, you may have to adjust to shorter walks, or routes that don’t have as much elevation.
Look for signs of pain
It’s also important to treat any underlying issues. Slowing down isn’t necessarily a normal part of aging; it can sometimes be a sign of pain. If they have difficulty getting up, or even if they don’t seem to get up as often, that can be a sign of pain. Observe their movement as they walk or go up and down stairs to see if there are any obvious changes in their mobility.
Different dogs will express pain in different ways. Some dogs will make it obvious by whimpering or barking in response to touch. They might limp, or be stiff or slow. Other dogs will manage their pain by withdrawing, changing behaviour, or not wanting to engage.
Continue to monitor your dog for any changes and consult your veterinarian if there are any concerns. Dealing with any mobility issues early on can help ease the aging process.
Dogs are social creatures, and they will appreciate your company as they go through changes. Play with and spend time with your dog in order to support their mental and physical health. Quality time together will also give you the ability to closely monitor your dog for any physical or mental changes. Your continued companionship will also help assure your dog that they are safe and cared for, especially as they become more vulnerable.
These are just some of the things you can do to help improve your senior dog’s quality of life. Just as with humans, senior dog supplements and senior dog vitamins are a great way to help ensure that your senior dog is getting the micronutrients required to stay healthy in their senior age. While there is no replacement for a well-balanced diet, senior dog supplements and vitamins can give you the peace of mind of knowing that all the essentials have been covered. Whether you are concerned about your senior dog’s mobility and joint health, your senior dog’s immune and digestive health, or your dog’s brain and cognitive function, we offer researched, formulated and manufactured veterinary supplements for the specific needs of senior dogs. With care and attention, it is possible to support your dog in a healthy aging process for many years to come.