We all know that one of the biggest downsides of owning a dog is saying goodbye. We know we will watch our friend gradually grow old and experience all the problems that come with old age. But we don't have to sit idly by and watch him or her suffer. There are many things you can do to ease the problems of aging, and make the remaining months or years more comfortable for your furry friend.
You've probably noticed your pup isn't moving around like he or she used to. Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in geriatric dogs. It may make them slow to get up after napping and can make it difficult to get footing on slick wood or linoleum floors. Large area rugs help ease the discomfort of a hard floor and make it easier for your friend to establish good footing. However, the rugs can slip and are difficult to clean. An alternative that works great is interlocking foam squares that you can customize to fit the area that your dog occupies most. Consider placing them in various areas where the family spends a lot of time.
Stairs can pose a problem for older dogs. If possible, have the dog bed and feeding area on the main floor. Ramps can make it easier to navigate short sets of steps. Ramps can also help your pup get into vehicles, and if your buddy is used to getting on your furniture and bed, a ramp will help there as well.
Deteriorating eyesight is part of the normal aging process for dogs. Dogs will adjust quite well and begin to rely more on their sense of hearing. You can make life easier by removing obstacles along the normal pathways. You can reassure your dog by talking frequently and making noise while you are doing things. If you have other animals in the house, it can help to tie bells on their collars to alert your dog of their whereabouts. Maintain a familiar routine, and continue to take your dog for walks and play with his or her favorite toys.
Food and Water
Arthritis often affects the bones of the spinal column, making it difficult and painful for your dog to bend to eat or drink. Use an elevated dog bowl holder to reduce the strain on your pup's neck.
With age comes bladder and bowel problems. Your dog may have trouble controlling these functions and because your dog no longer moves as quickly, he or she may fail to make it outside on time. Take your pup outside more frequently and watch closely for signs that he or she needs to go outside. You can also purchase pads that resemble grass, and teach your dog to use them when he needs to go.
The aging process is difficult and confusing for your dog and heartbreaking for you. But it is inevitable. Use this as a time to strengthen the bond you have with your friend. For more information, talk to an animal hospital.