Dog Articles: Wellness

Gently Guide Your Dog through His Golden Years

He may be cloudy-eyed, a bit grouchy, more clumsy, and hard of hearing, but he’s still your best friend, someone you want to grow old with as gracefully as possible. Here are some helpful life hacks for making your pooch, and yourself, more comfortable during those senior years.

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child bending over and hugging his laying dog
  • More cushions! Even if your dog has slept on the floor since he was a pup, transition to a soft dog bed or extra blankets. Older dogs are prone to arthritis and will appreciate extra padding for their achy bones. Consider adding a heat source if your dog has lost some fat and chills easier.
  • Ramp up to make steps easier to climb if your canine needs to negotiate stairs or tall furniture in your home.
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs can help your guy keep his footing much better than hardwood and slippery surfaces.
  • Gentle strolls should replace more vigorous walks or runs. Let your pal set the pace and watch for any panting or other signs he’s overdone it so he can rest.
  • Practice his doggy paddleSwimming is great for all older souls because it’s easy on bones and joints. A little swim can help build strength and muscle in your dog and provides overall conditioning. Plus swimming is naturally relaxing which can motivate more sedentary dogs.
  • New tricks! Frisky fetch or rope pull may be too risky when your pal ages because he can lose his balance and slip and fall causing injuries. Set up an easy exercise course in your home or yard instead. A gently sloped platform he can walk up and down, a plank to balance on or cones to zigzag through can help your dog move around more safely.
  • Soft toys are better as your dog ages because they’re gentler on his teeth and jaws. Try toys of contrasting colors too, so they’re easier for your pal to see.
  • Play up pack mentality, especially if you have another canine pal in your home. Older dogs can get their second wind from a kindred soul that loves to play, sniff and groom. Research from shows pets with buddies tend to live longer and have fewer medical problems, so keep up the play dates.
  • Easy access! Make it easy for your dog to reach his food and water bowls.
  • Switch to senior-formula foods to help control your dog’s weight while offering helpful, joint-friendly supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • D.I.Y. pet massage or pamper him with a pro. Some dog grooming facilities offer warm oil treatments for your loyal pal. Nothing is too good for your lifelong companion!
  • Sling it if your dog has trouble getting up and/or climbing stairs. You can always use older towels to create a homemade sling for under his legs.
  • See the vet! Your pooch’s veterinarian is his best friend, especially as he ages. Always ask your veterinarian for diet, exercise and lifestyle advice so your canine gets the most out of his golden years.