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Mobility loss affects your pet physically, but did you know that it can affect your pet in other ways too? There is a direct correlation between your dog’s physical health and their mental health. There are many changes that occur in aging pets, here are a few unexpected changes that you may see:
1. Pain Can Affect Your Dog’s Mood
Degenerative conditions and joint disease can make moving painful or impossible for your beloved pet. Causing your dog to slow down, which means less time playing and enjoying life.
Over time the lessening of physical activity can take a toll on your dog. Your dog may appear more tired, nap more often or even change their behavior. A dog who can’t move or struggles to move may become depressed and unhappy.
Some changes are subtle and happen gradually. If there is a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, speak with your Vet to make sure there isn’t a greater underlying issue.
2. Sudden Aggression
Aching joints can lead to irritability. Your pet may not want you to touch areas that are painful, and your pet may lash out to avoid being hurt. Be aware of your dog’s behavioral cues and what they’re telling you. To avoid pain, your dog may lash out when touched or if they’re being asked to move faster or in a way that is uncomfortable for them.
This can be especially hard for children to understand, if you have young kids in the house make sure they know how to tell your dog has had enough.
3. Mobility Loss Can Lead to Changes in Routine
Changes in behavior are common as your pet ages, some may be very subtle such as your pet shows less interest in playtime or quickly tires on long walks.
Many aging pets deal with painful arthritis, which can affect how they move. Joint pain can make it difficult for your pet to follow you up the stairs and may make getting up off the ground to greet you a struggle. Loss of strength and muscle tone are common in older pets, help your pet stay as active as possible. A dog wheelchair will reduce the weight your dog is putting on their joints while also providing the support your dog needs to maintain their independence, keep them smiling and enjoying family time. Changing in your dog’s mobility may be small at first, pay attention to hesitancy on the stairs, unwillingness to jump out of the car, and having a harder time standing up after resting.
The best way to help your aging dog is to be aware of the changes they’re going through. If you notice your dog struggling to stand or to move give them the help the need to stay as active as they can. Improving their physical health will positively impact both their mental and emotional health.
Arthritic pets may struggle to stand and maintain the
posture needed to easily relieve themselves. Provide additional support with a
rear support leash or harness to make quick bathroom trips outside and check to
see if they need additional grooming for better hygiene.
A pet who is less active will need their nails clipped more frequently. A healthy dog runs and plays which wears down their nails naturally. A dog who is more sedentary will require their nails to be clipped more often. Aging pets tire easily and find themselves laying down more often, this can lead to matted fur and will require additional brushing. Senior dogs need to be groomed regularly to maintain proper hygiene and keep them healthy.
5. Bathroom Needs Change
Having accidents in the house become more common as dogs age. Your dog may have difficulty getting outside fast enough or even forget to ask to go out when it’s time. Loss of bladder control in aging dogs is common, a dog dealing with urinary incontinence may benefit from a male wrap or dog diapers to avoid a mess.
Improving the Quality of Life for a Paralyzed or Senior Dog
Patience and Understanding
As dogs age, their legs lose strength, and they have a harder time getting around. A senior or paralyzed pet will rely more and more on its family for physical and emotional support. Taking care of a special needs dog requires more time on behalf of the owner and a lot of patience and care. Be willing to commit to caring for a senior dog and understand your pet’s limitations.
Give Your Dog the Mobility Tools It Needs
You can greatly improve your dog’s quality of life through the use of mobility aids. Dogs want to be active and they want to run and spend as much time with you as possible. A dog wheelchair provides rear leg support to help a dog to stand and play again. The freedom to move around, will not only benefit your dog physically, but it will improve their mental health too!