Let’s face it. There’s nothing we can do to stop the aging process for humans or dogs. However, there are many things we can do to make our dogs’ senior years be their ultimate golden years!
True, they’re not going to breeze through the doggy park like they used to when they were a wee little pup. Their game of fetch might not last as long. In either case, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy life!
They may have slowed down, but dogs still need that mental stimulation. If you had once taken your dog for two-mile hikes, perhaps take them for short walks each day. If they are up to it, take them for one short walk in the morning and one in the afternoon. Not only does this give them a chance to explore, but many senior dogs tend to put on a little extra weight as well. Keeping them as active as possible will help keep that weight gain to a minimum.
Of course, as dogs get older, they can suffer from arthritis, so walking might be difficult for them. To keep their bodies in motion, swimming is a fantastic activity. If you have a pool, perhaps take a few minutes out of each day to take a dip with your furry pal! Even if they aren’t the greatest swimmers, you can purchase life preservers made especially for dogs and hold your dog while they relax in the water. It is a beautiful way to spend some quality time with your pooch, and even if they had never swum before, they might learn to enjoy the gravity-free feeling! If you don’t have a pool, don’t fret! There is a wonderful facility in town called Canine Bodywork and Aquatics. Here, your dog will get pleasure from a safe swim with the owner and afterwards, savor the delight in a relaxing massage. It’s like a day spa for dogs! Perfect for our fur babies who are suffering with aches and pains!
Our dogs love being with us, so even for those days where they are not up to being active, sitting on the couch with us is one activity they will love. If your daily routine includes watching television or reading a book, do so with your pup right next to you. Most dogs won’t turn down a belly rub, so take that time to let your pooch indulge in one!
Does your dog love toys? Buy them a few extra and give your dog a different toy every few days. Sit on the floor and play with them if that’s what they enjoy! If they had once loved chasing tennis balls, perhaps sit across from them and roll it to them. They may not want to get up and chase it like they used to, but they may like the thrill of watching the ball “escape” and get rolled back to them to easily retrieve.
When bedtime comes around, if your dog doesn’t sleep in your bed, make your dog more comfortable with an orthopedic bed. If they do sleep with you but have trouble jumping up, there are fairly inexpensive pet stairs you can purchase and place directly next to the bed.
Always keep a watchful eye for drastic changes in your dog’s behavior. If it appears that they are in pain or uncomfortable, speak with your veterinarian about pain relievers and other options that can truly make a difference in your dog’s quality of life!
Elizabeth Parker – Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud!, Paw Prints in the Sand,Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil’s Door and Faces of Deception.
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