Taking Care of Your Older Dog
Time affects us all. Our pets are no different.
Just as our four-legged friends have been there for us when we needed them, we should be there when they need us. Old age isn’t a disease – it’s simply a reality. Here are some ways to make your dog more comfortable as she starts to enter her golden years:
- Be observant.
The earlier you pick up on the signs, the easier it will be for you to be ready when she slows down. It might be more difficult for her to jump around on things or to run around. Her coat could start to turn gray. You might notice some movements that indicate arthritis pain in her joints. She might not hear or see so well. All of these things convey the same message: “I need special help.”
- Make her comfortable.
A softer bed will make her more comfortable. A playpen can help make sure that if her eyesight is deteriorating, she won’t bump into objects or trip on stairs. Make sure her area is protected from anything that she might not be able to deal with as she ages. Sharp edges and some hard surfaces might make life a little more difficult.
- Keep all regular vet visits.
This is one of the most important things. Your vet can let you know how your dog’s diet might need to change or if some arthritis treatment might help alleviate her pain. The open communication that you have with your vet will help to understand how life changes for your pet in this transition. They will be essential in maintaining the highest quality of life so that your dog can enjoy “retirement.”
- Keep them engaged.
Just because she is a little older and a little more fragile doesn’t mean that she wants to be left alone. Rather, pet her and play with her in a safe environment where you can make sure that she won’t accidentally hurt herself. Regular exercise and dental hygiene will serve to help her stay youthful for longer.
All of these will help you and your pet continue the heartwarming relationship that you’ve spent years developing. A sharp eye and a little preparation will go a long way to helping your senior family member live comfortably.
If you live in the Gardner area and would like more information on how to care for your aging pet, talk to your Gardner vet.