Watching a dog age is a bittersweet process.
On one hand, you have seen this dog’s entire life and you know fully well that you have done everything you can for him. It’s almost similar to watching a child grow up, except this is a dog and not a child.
On the other hand, it can be painful to watch a companion’s health deteriorate as he grows older.
One of the best things you can do for an aging dog is to make him as comfortable and happy as possible.
You Should Keep Your Dog Physically Healthy
One of the key things you will need to do for the sake of your dog is keeping him healthy.
As it grows older, it’s going to become more and more obvious that rigorous play and exercise is off the table. This might tempt you into not making your dog exercise at all, but despite his age, he still needs the movement.
It’s a harsh cycle: as dogs age, they don’t want to move, but the less they move, the more their joints hurt.
You should think of some light exercises that you could get your dog to do to ensure that the joint pain isn’t preventing it from daily tasks, such as eating and drinking.
For example, you could consider going on a very light walk and carrying the dog if he seems to be pained by the movement. Make sure that you keep a close eye on the dog and its condition as you walk. However, this also gives your dog the time to still be outside and smell the scents that the outdoors has to offer.
If your home has stairs, either inside or outside, that your dog regularly uses, you should consider getting some pet stairs or a ramp. This will ease the edge off the joint pain that most dogs experience in old age.
It will also help with tasks such as getting into the car for a vet appointment as well.
You Should Make Things Easier to Get to
As they age, senior dogs are going to have a harder time bending down to the floor to eat their food and drink their water.
Of course, this is going to depend on the size of your dog. But you should consider getting an elevated feeder so that your dog doesn’t have to crane its neck simply to eat food.
You will also want to put things in places that are easy to remember.
For example, don’t hide your dog’s bed in a maze of a complicated room. Instead, keep your dogs’ belongings in a place where it will remember where they are.
After all, as any animal ages, its memory will begin to deteriorate, and this can make it harder for your dog to find the resources it needs.
You Should Make the Home Safer for Your Dog
In their senior years, in addition to their memory, dogs will also have issues with their awareness as well. They might start bumping into corners more and knocking things over unintentionally.
Because of this, you should consider minimizing the amount of sharp corners and objects that your dog could potentially run into.
This will ensure that even if your dog does bump into something, it is not going to leave as much of a mark and it is not going to hurt the dog nearly as much. You can prevent this by investing in protective covers for the corners of the wall and some foam.
Similarly, you will want to get rid of any tripping hazards that your dog might accidentally fall on. Usually, this involves extension cords and just about any other type of cable that your dog could trip over.
Besides physical safety, you will also want to remove as many germs as you can. As dogs age, their immune system simply isn’t what it used to be anymore.
This means that you will need to make more of an effort to reduce the presence of germs in the house and potentially even invest in some special antibacterial wipes that cater specially to dogs.
You also shouldn’t introduce a new puppy when your senior dog is in this stage of life, no matter how much you want to.
Just as your dog’s physical health is important, your dog’s mental health is also a key thing you will want to think about when you are wondering how to make an old dog comfortable.
Senior dogs tend to be more prone to anxiety and stress than younger dogs. This means that you shouldn’t take your dog anywhere that it isn’t used to being and you shouldn’t try and force your older dog to meet strangers.
You Should Keep Your Dog Comfortable
In their senior years, dogs will often begin shedding their fur. This, of course, means that senior dogs are going to have less hair than they normally would.
Unless you live in an area that never gets cold, you will need to invest in sweaters and blankets to keep your dog warm throughout the entire winter.
Likewise, you should prepare extra fans and water for the summer seasons.
You will also want to look at dog beds. While your dog might have a bed that it has been using for the past decade, there are special dog beds that cater to the needs of an older dog.
This usually means that the bed itself is easier to get into and helps prevent joint pain. Getting one of these beds will ensure that your dog will be able to have a comfortable night’s sleep every single night.
Sometimes, senior dogs will have some trouble with their internal body clocks. This means that they might have some trouble distinguishing between day and night.
To keep your dog as comfortable as possible, you will want to minimize the extra noises that you make during the day and night hours so that your dog has a chance to sleep comfortably in its new bed.
You Should Prepare for Accidents
Unfortunately, older dogs might have trouble with bodily movements and controlling them. No matter how well trained your dog might have been as a puppy, when it reaches a certain age, it is going to begin having issues controlling itself.
You should invest in some puppy pads so that you can try and mitigate the damage that these accidents cause.
Remember, even if it is annoying, you should never actually get mad at your dog for an accident, especially when it happens due to the dog’s old age.
You Will Need to Change Your Dog’s Diet
As your dog grows older, you will need to think about changing the diet of the dog. Of course, you should first consult the veterinarian about which diet is best for your specific dog.
Once you have found your answer, you should search for a diet that focuses on the type of food recommended by your vet.
If you cannot do this just yet, you should look into getting a soft diet for your senior dog. Your dog is probably not going to be doing too well in the dental department in its old age, and a hard diet of crunchy kibble is not going to help in the slightest.
On the other hand, a soft diet can be an easy way for an elderly dog to get the nutrients that it needs without causing pain.
You should also look into what softer treats the pet store might have so that you can still praise your dog without putting it through pain when it eats its treat.
With your veterinarian’s word, you might also want to look at supplements. There are several dog-friendly supplements that can be used to ease joint pain and make life easier.
In fact, these supplements might play a key role in how to make an old dog happy.
You Will Need to Groom Your Dog More Often
Dogs usually get by on their own with self-grooming. Occasionally they might need a shower or a hose after a day of rolling in the mud, but chances are that your senior dog isn’t going to be doing this.
Sadly, older dogs tend to have a bit more trouble bending themselves to clean off.
When you take over the grooming and cleaning for your senior dog, you can make sure that your dog doesn’t have to fret over not being able to scratch that one itch anymore.
This is also an excellent way for you to make sure that your dog is looking as beautiful as ever, despite its old age.
It is also a wonderful way to sneak a small physical exam for lumps and bumps that could appear in your dog’s old age.
Older dogs are going to need a bit more help managing daily tasks. From getting around the house and eating food to cleaning themselves and going to sleep in a comfortable bed.
It will soon become your job to make sure that your dog has everything it needs to live life comfortably.
If you can gather the resources you need, you can make sure that you can give the best years possible to your senior dog