Our dogs are often our best friends and so as they start to become very old they will become less agile, slower moving and not as responsive as they once were. When this starts to happen we owe it to our beloved companions to ensure that we do everything possible to make their last years their best. Considerations, provisions and consistent caregiving will have to be made available for our aging canine pals.
If your older dog is part of a multi-pet household then it can be wise to make sure that they are protected from any younger siblings or other dogs. Older dogs’ bones can be brittle and they may have hidden ailments which can be hurt or aggravated when younger pups try to play with them. The boisterous play-time that younger dogs so often crave can become a source of displeasure and even worry for older dogs who share the same living space. With this in mind it can be a good idea to not leave your older dog on its own with the younger tearaways.
As dogs get older they will start to become susceptible to the elements. Many older dogs will enjoy lying in the sun as it feels good on their old bones and joints. Whilst they enjoy this it is vital that we do not let them stay in the sun for too long as it can make them overheat. When they are outside on a hot day make sure they have lots of fresh water to drink; it can also be a good idea to apply some pet-safe sun cream on their extremely sensitive underbelly to reduce the chance of burning. Likewise if your dog has a short or thin coat then when taking them outside during the cold, sometimes freezing conditions, of winter be sure to keep them warm with a blanketed coat and/or some dog boots.
People who have dogs that are in their later years can make their companion feel welcome and loved by demonstrating consideration in the form of adapting things around the house. Dogs of an old age are less sure-footed than they were when young and flooring such as tiles, laminate or wood can be of potential risk. Exchanging a slippery surface for something more stable, such as a carpet, will not only reduce the likelihood of dogs slipping and injuring themselves but will also show them that you still care.
Ramps can also be a great way to help older dogs get about; just because a dog is less mobile it does not mean that they do not enjoy fresh air. If they have trouble getting into a vehicle a ramp will enable them to get up into the car; this also applies to them getting up onto their favourite spot, such as on the sofa. By providing them with a ramp or a folding set of stairs, you will give them access to their favourite spots without you having to pick them up.
A common occurrence in very old dogs is the deterioration of their sight. Whilst not all dogs will go completely blind, they will lose their vision to the point of partial blindness. Therefore it can be a good idea to not move the furniture around in the household as there is a chance that your older dog will navigate having learnt where the furniture is located. If you move it around then it can confuse your dog and they may start to keep banging into things and injuring themselves.
Our dogs mean the world to us and so as they start to grow old it is only right that we treat them with the tenderness, care and respect that they have shown towards us their whole lives. For any medical conditions in later life it is wise to insure your dog at an earlier age as is it will mean that you can help pay for the treatment they may need. In addition to this financial safeguard you can also make sure that you are prepared for the changes that old age brings to the family household both emotionally and logistically.