Our dogs quickly become a part of our family and when they start to get old, it can be difficult to come to terms with it. Many pet owners will ignore the signs and continue their normal routine with their canine companion, which can be good and beneficial in some ways, but in others, aging dogs do need your help to age gracefully. One of the main things that you need to do to enhance your older dog’s quality of life is to make them feel as comfortable as possible. This can take time and be hard work, but by doing so, you will improve their mood, behaviour and can even extend their lifespan.
Knowing that your dog is happy during their golden years will bring you a lot of peace as a dog owner, so to get started, here are 7 ways to make your senior dog feel comfortable.
Adjust Your Home
When you bring a dog or puppy home for the first time, a responsible owner will have everything in place and would have made their home ‘puppy proof.’ As your dog gets older, you will need to adjust your home in order to make it more accessible for your mature pooch, especially if they have limited mobility. This will reduce any reluctance for a senior dog to make it through their own home, making them happier, and it will make lessen the risk of any damaging falls or injuries from occurring.
Buy Comfortable Bedding
Comfortable bedding is crucial for senior dogs. If they have sore or stiff joints, encouraging them to jump up on furniture can cause them more damage, so you should make an effort to make them a super comfortable and supportive bed for them on the floor. Buying an orthopaedic dog bed will provide optimum support and will offer your old friend many benefits, especially if they experience body aches and pain that affect their sleep, mobility and quality of life.
Provide Joint Support
Joint pain is common in mature dogs. A number of lifestyle changes can be made to support your older dog’s joints, such as shorter, but regular walks, orthopaedic bedding, a warm home, diet changes, and more. One of the best ways to target the issue is to look into joint health supplements for dogs, like YuMove joint care tablets. These contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which protect cartilage, slow down joint deterioration and lower pain. If this could help your dog, you can read more here.
Encourage Regular Exercise
If your dog has slowed down and struggles to complete the old walks that they were once used to, you should not avoid exercising them altogether. Instead, you should find shorter routes and take them out more often. This puts less strain on their body and joints, while allowing them to get outside and enjoy that all-important exercise. Encouraging regular exercise will keep your old dog’s mind and body healthy and in good condition, which will make them feel younger in return.
Change Their Diet
The majority of dogs love their food, but as they get older, they will slow down physically and their metabolism will slow down too. This increases the risk of weight gain, which can lead to a range of health complications. Changing your dog’s diet, whether it is the type of food or quantity of food, will play a huge part in how healthy and active they are. If your dog struggles to put on weight, then you will need to increase their calorie intake. You should speak to your vet for the best advice.
Practice Good Grooming
All responsible dog owners understand the importance of grooming, no matter what breed of dog they own. Dogs must be groomed regularly, and your old friend may need some extra help and special care as they age. If your dog needs to be clipped often, then choosing shorter cuts that will last longer and don’t require your geriatric pal to stand for a long period of time is recommended. While you groom your pooch, you should examine them for any lumps and bumps, and areas of discomfort.
Always Be Vigilant
It can be difficult to tell whether your dog is in pain sometimes. Many owners end up disregarding symptoms in older canines, because they think that they are just a normal part of aging. This can lead to conditions being undiagnosed for weeks, months and even years, which can lead to further and life-threatening complications down the line. In order to avoid this, as a senior pet owner, you should make an effort to notice any unusual changes in your dog’s behaviour and always be vigilant.
You know your dog best, and making these adjustments to their lifestyle will depend on their breed, age, health and environment. If you are unsure about implementing these changes, then you should consult your vet.