At a young age a real bundle of energy, at an advanced age a comfortable companion, this is how most dogs can be described. It is nothing new that old dogs often slow down and are more and more restricted in their mobility, because they often have to struggle with age-related health problems. It is therefore twice as important for the owner from a certain point to pay more attention to the dog, to be patient with him and to adapt daily routines to the speed of the aging dog.
You can help your beloved senior by a few changes in the household to make the dog life a little easier. You can read what they are afterwards.
A higher food bowl
The spine of an older dog is not as supple and flexible as that of a young dog. Arthrosis ( an area where two bones are attached for the purpose of motion of body parts ) and spondilosis ( a painful condition of the spine resulting from the degeneration of the intervertebral discs ) can be very painful and it can be a great relief for old dogs not to have to stretch their head and neck so far down to eat. The height of the feeding bowl should be adjusted so that your best friend can eat with a straight spine.
Protect and avoid corners
Dementia in dogs? Yes, there actually is. Many owners of old dogs report that their darling “stands head first in a corner” and “can’t find his way out”. Also the aging senses of the dog (seeing, hearing) contribute to the fact that this can possibly no longer orient itself as well as in former times. He therefore “gets lost” in an angled furniture construction or a gap between the large pot palm and the desk, then finds no way back and must be freed from his mistress or master. It is therefore important to avoid angled corners or furniture constructions and to design the home of the aged dog openly and clearly. Avoid also great conversions, let the furniture stand as usual and also clear unnecessary things aside. You can also add an edge protector or similar to table edges or certain corners to protect your friend. If your senior should go completely blind, there are further tips and tricks under “The blind dog” that can make your senior’s life easier.
Carpets give support, a night light can support
Carpets make life considerably easier for an old dog. Often, the grayed pets are not so sure on the paws any more and a smooth ground therefore becomes the daily obstacle. The additional wonderful effect of carpets: old dogs often don’t use their legs and paws as actively anymore, often they get a kind of sanding process. A tactile carpet path – i.e. a trace of different carpets – not only helps the dog over the slippery ground, but also activates and animates the ball of toes and paws. Door mats are particularly suitable for such a carpet path, as they are available in a wide variety of shapes and bristle thicknesses and are normally equipped with a non-slip underside. If the sight of your four-legged friend has already given way considerably and he therefore has difficulties orienting himself in the apartment, it is advisable to install a night light, available in every lamp shop or children’s accessory shop. Especially at night our esteemed seniors get lost most often when they want to look for their mistress and master.
Adapt sleeping berths and create a place of retreat
You should pay attention that old dogs find an easy and safe ascent and descent at their sleeping berths and either do not have to jump down at all or at least find a non-slip base at their ascent and descent places. Now dogs often become incontinent in old age. If this problem cannot be solved with medication, it is a good idea to place absorbent pads, which are available in any well-stocked store for nursing products, between a thin blanket and the actual place to lie so that you don’t always have to wash the whole basket if a few drops go by. Older dogs also have an increased need for rest. In a busy household where younger members of the same species or even children may be on the move, it is advisable to create a retreat for your beloved senior. It makes sense not to make the place of retreat angled, but clear enough – for example, to reserve your own room during the day for the dog to which children, younger dogs or visitors have no access. Also a dog box is gladly accepted in which your darling is left in peace.
Prepare and/or secure staircases
Steps or stairs should be made non-slip if your dog can still handle them on his own. A very simple solution here is roller carpet. It can be cut into strips and attached to the steps with double-sided adhesive tape. This possibility is easily reversible, but helps our Oldie to get up and down safely. If the dog is no longer able to manage the stairs himself or if it is noticed that he is too clumsy, the stairs should be secured with a children’s grid so that your dog does not try to get up or down himself in an unobserved moment and injures himself while trying.
It’s not surprising when old dogs feel less like chasing after things. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to rough changes in behaviour and consider the needs of your four-legged friend.
The muscle mass is also slowly reduced and the metabolism is reduced, which means he needs fewer calories. So make sure that the amount of food still fits. If your dog decreases to reduce the amount, he will decrease even though the food ration remains the same, you should consult a veterinarian.
Depending on the breed, it is advisable to have a blood test carried out by a veterinarian from the age of six to ten (earlier, of course, if you have problems) so as not to overlook any initial changes. Because some dogs show only very late that they are ill. Who rests rust says an old proverb, go therefore more often smaller rounds and pay attention not to overtax your dog, in addition, not to underchallenge. In order to support him in walking, safety and carrying harnesses are their own.
Not only we humans are inferior to the aging process, also the best friend of humans has to fight with certain little problems in old age. But that’s no reason to despair. As a keeper, you can easily help your senior through a few changes in the household. And never forget that although our oldies have different needs than a young dog, they are often still full of zest for life and zest for action.