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Caring for an aging dog can be hard, especially if your furry friend is showing signs of being in pain as they get older. While there are challenges inherent in watching your dog age, you can help them through the process by making them comfortable and by handling accidents gracefully and with love. Of course, regular, top-notch care such as grooming services from MJ’s Pet Spaw is also a must.
Not all dogs age at the same rate. For example, smaller dogs such as chihuahuas or terriers aren’t considered seniors until they’re 10 or 12 years old. However, bigger dogs such as Great Danes could be in the “senior” bracket by age 5 or 6. Depending on the breed of your dog, you can estimate when their geriatric years begin — if the grey muzzle hasn’t already given it away.
Taking care of your aging pup involves a number of different factors. From dental hygiene to proper diet, your dog will age gracefully if you provide them with proper nutrition and healthcare. Along with these factors, you’ll also need to keep up with a solid exercise routine for both body and mind. While they might not be bounding up backcountry trails anymore, regular walks to the park and enrichment activities are still important for your aging dog. Finally, you may also consider safe holistic treatments for your dog like CBD oil to help ease anxiety and joint pain.
Making changes to your house
One very clear indication that your dog is aging is if they’re not moving around the house much anymore. Some senior dogs will experience arthritis, making it difficult for them to get up and follow you around. It can be heartbreaking to realize that your pup can’t jump up on the bed like they used to, but you can make adjustments to your home to help them feel more comfortable and restore some of their movement.
Start with the outside of your home. Though senior dogs have a more difficult time getting around, they can still wander, so it’s best to put up a fence around the home to keep them safe. You can search for nearby Angi fence installation companies that are qualified to provide your home with a long-lasting, quality fence. If your budget allows, you can invest in a more durable fence like aluminum and vinyl (which can cost $40 and $30 per foot, respectively), but wooden and chain-link fences are also good, cost-effective options.
For dogs that are allowed on furniture, consider getting steps or a ramp that allows them to continue joining you on the couch or in bed. Another great way to make your dog more comfortable is by elevating their food and water bowls. For some dogs—large dogs in particular—bending down to eat could be painful. It’s a good idea to put their food up off the ground in an elevated bowl-holder so they can eat and drink without pain.
It doesn’t have to be a big investment to purchase items that will enhance your older pup’s quality of life. Sites like Chewy offer ramps, risers for food and water bowls, and just about every other item your senior pet could need at inexpensive prices, and you can cut your costs even more by using a Chewy online coupon.
Dealing with accidents
Some dogs tend to have more accidents as they age, which can be distressing for both you and your pup. Along with incontinence, senior dogs can develop anxiety, so it’s important to keep your cool if and when this happens. Don’t make a big deal of it — just clean it up and comfort your dog so they don’t develop anxiety over the accident.
Often, accidents happen when owners are away, so if you can, try to keep your pup in a non-carpeted room of the house. If this isn’t possible, look into some carpet cleaning services to help lift stubborn stains. Be sure to ask what cleaning method they use, how long it will take, and whether they’re insured.
Watching your dog age can be a sad process, but it’s important to keep up with good quality exercise and mental stimulation throughout your dog’s senior years. Make adjustments to your home to make your pup feel more comfortable, and if messes happen, don’t make a big deal of it. Above all, make sure they receive the compassionate care they need. Treat your dog to a “spa day” by booking a grooming or massage therapy service with MJ’s Pet Spaw!