How To Care for My Senior Dog – Living Environment Improvements
An average life span of a dog is about 15 years ; large dogs are considered to be ‘old’ when they are 5 years old and 10 years for smaller breeds.
This process of aging changes a list of things for your fur baby both mentally and physically. Just like humans, their general functions slowly degenerates, they become less active and slow acting and could even develop cognitive dysfunction symptoms.
Senior dogs would need special care and living environment up to standard , this is where dog owners should come in and make some changes in your house including add essential dog supplies and even change your furniture to become more ‘senior-friendly’.
1. The most common symptoms is the degeneration of joints followed by loss of vision. It is not hard to tell when these symptoms develops, you will see how your dog could easily bumping into walls and furniture. So it would be a good idea to keep them safe by covering up sharp edges of your furniture.
2. If you happen to have wooden floor, laminated floor or tile floor at home, you might want to try to cover as much area up with carpet or floor mat. This helps on increase friction to reduce stress of your dogs joints and most of all it would greatly avoid chances of slip and fall.
3. Avoid going up or down on stairs, jumping onto the couch even they might think they used to be good at that. This particularly gets worse if you have hard floor for your senior dog to jump onto from high up. There are dog stairs or ramps for them to do that if they insist to sleep on your couch.
4. For injured dogs or disabled dogs, there are mobility aid supporting products to help them walk, such as lifting harnesses and even dog wheelchairs. Do never give up on exercising even when they are not interested to walk. Adequate amount of exercise is important to senior dogs!
5. Help relief pressure on their spine and neck by raising their feeders. I recently bought automatic pet drinking fountain and that really helps. The adjustable pet feeders would be even better as you could adjust the best height to suit your dog’s habits- if they like to eat while sitting down or standing up.
6. If you notice your dog is starting to have accidents indoor then this could be a common sign of aging. To help them out, place indoor dog toilet and dog training pads at places where you want them to go. It’s like having a puppy again so it should not be a great deal. You could also find dog diapers if you need to travel with them in the car. I tried these handy diapers for my dog to help him get through post-op period and it was super convenient.
7. Although there aren’t much stuff to help on dogs with loss of hearing, but I am sure your love and patience would be the best ‘treatment’. You will be amazed on how words really don’t matter so much anymore, your best companion knows how to read your gestures and they are sensitive to vibrations, so if you pat on the floor in front of you, they could easily learn it is you asking them to approach you. Dogs are angels no matter in what age!
8. Their body temperature regulation ability tends to go down hill as well, so it is now extra essential to keep them warm in winter time and to cool down enough in summer. I personally like to place a fleece blanket in my dog’s bed and because of this I got my dog a large size dog bed even he’s only a 5kg small dog. He loves to snug in it and it always keep him warm in winter time. I would use a dog cooling mat and cover it up with a thin layer of blanket after pre-refrigerated it in summer for him and it works quite well to keep his kennel temperature down.
After all, we all hope to age gracefully, so same goes to your dog. I believe by living with the hoooman they love, in happy moods, eating healthy and adequate exercise will keep them staying longer with us.