10 Ways To Make Your Aging Dog More Comfortable
As dogs age, physical changes create arthritis, muscle pain, or the flare up of old injuries that have caused structural deformities. You notice your dog’s step is a little slower and they may sleep a little longer. As eyesight decreases and becomes blurred, your dog may become irritable, nervous or fearful of new experiences. Understanding your pet’s new needs as they age can make your dog more comfortable in their golden years. Help your dog age gracefully in 10 simple and loving ways.
1. Well-Trimmed Nails
Dogs with long nails may struggle with walking on stiffened joints and bones. Short nails will help balance their weight and shift pressure off painful areas during movement. Long nails can cause a dog to slide on slippery surfaces and further injure a damaged joint.
2. Dogs Love Massage
You can relieve muscle spasms and tension with a simple manipulation of your dog’s muscle tissues with gentle pressure. Carefully work the areas around the front leg and back hip joints with long and short strokes. Never massage over swollen joints or painful areas indicated by your pet.
3. Weight Control
Maintaining a healthy weight for your older dog can be a challenge. Their metabolism has slowed, and they don’t expend playful energy like a puppy. However, a slimmer dog will experience ease of movement, less pressure on painful joints, and provide more energy.
4. A Comfortable Bed
Affording your dog a soft bed is a truly caring act to provide comfort. A flexible bed can cushion your pet’s joints and provide a restful and pain-free sleep. Your dog should be able to stretch out comfortably and get in and out ease.
5. No Pressure
Allow more time for your older pet to move or follow your commands. Tender joints and fatigued muscles take longer to adjust and respond to movement. Your older dog will appreciate your time and patience.
6. Eye Health
As your dog ages, the eye lenses tend to harden and develop bluish-grey cloudiness over the eyeball. Usually the changes don’t affect their long distance vision, but can cause nearsightedness. Take the time to identify objects for your pet and place food and water bowls on contrasting surfaces. If your dog’s eyes become reddened and have an increased discharge, see your veterinarian.
7. Hearing Changes
If your dog doesn't come when you call, hearing loss may be the reason. Even with deafness, your pet may hear foot stomping, hand clapping, or respond to a dog whistle. Use hand signals and speak to your pet face to face. Never “sneak up” on your older dog with hearing loss to avoid startling him.
8. Cover Slippery Surfaces
Place rugs on slippery surfaces for your old friend. Older muscles and joints need a non-slick surface to move without pain and avoid further injury. Dogs that don’t come to you when you call may be reluctant to walk across a surface that increases their joint and muscle pain.
Moderate exercise is important to maintain muscle mass and joint health.Your pet needs physical activity, but only as much as they can tolerate. Don’t push them to exercise more than they can accomplish. Older dogs may need to break up their walk routine with shorter walks more frequently throughout the day.
10. Reduce Stimulation
Older dogs may not tolerate a high level of noise and activity around them. Young children and family gatherings can be distressing to an older pet that cannot move out of the way quickly, or recognize objects in their path. On the other hand, your old friend may want to participate in the party and play regardless of sore and stiffened joints. Consider your pet’s best interests and limit her involvement in over activity.