Having a dog in our life is something that many of us consider to be a privilege. In many cases, we have seen the dog grow from an energetic puppy, and over the years, develop into a companion who is as much a part of our family as any human (and in some cases, even more).
Now that our dog has grown older, it’s important to give them the care they deserve. The problem is, dogs can’t communicate with us by telling us outright what they need. If they could talk, however, they would remind us of these seven important things about being an older dog.
1. Please Be Patient with Me
As our dogs get older, their senses begin to decline. When they were young, they probably could have heard somebody walking by on the sidewalk out front, but now, they may have difficulty hearing and seeing what is taking place only a few feet away. Your dog would like you to understand that they would love to see and hear the way they could when they were young. By being patient with them, you help to reassure them that everything is okay.
2. I Get Frightened Sometimes
When our dogs were younger, they may have seemed fearless and were ready to charge into any situation. Now that they have gotten older, they may be experiencing some anxiety that is common with age.
This is especially true when it comes to separation anxiety, and if they aren’t right beside you, they may worry that you are no longer there for them. Sometimes, they may get under your feet in an effort to get closer to you.
Take a moment to reassure them with a gentle scratch behind the ears.
3. Sometimes I Am in Pain
Just as humans experience aches and pains as they get older, dogs can experience many of the same problems. In fact, arthritis is very common in older dogs, and it can make it difficult for them to move about or even to stand up or lay down. Old injuries may suddenly become new problems as well. Providing your dog with a comfortable place to rest and a helping hand from time to time will go a long way to help reduce their discomfort.
4. I Get the Sniffles Easily
When our dogs were younger, they may have spent all day outside running around in the snow, but now that they have gotten older, they get cold and sick more easily.
Older dogs are not able to regulate their body temperature as easily as younger dogs. Keep your dog as cozy and warm as possible when the weather is cold outside.
If they do get the sniffles, provide them with extra comfort until they are back on their feet again.
5. I Get Confused Sometimes
There may be times when you wonder why your dog is breaking some old rules. In many cases, it isn’t a matter of disobedience but rather, they just forgot the rule momentarily. Patience on your part may be required, and it is perhaps one of the most loving things you can do when your dog has a senior moment.
6. I’m Counting on You for Change
We provide many things for our dog throughout their lives, and it is a give-and-take relationship. As they get older, many of their needs may change, and it is important for us to keep up with those changes. Some things that you may need to change include their diet, their exercise routine, and even how frequently they visit the veterinarian.
7. Sometimes I Just Need a Nap
As our dogs get older, the amount of time they sleep through the day is going to naturally increase. At one time, they may have jumped up from a nap, ready to take on the world. Our senior dog may just need to snooze away a little longer. Give them the time they need, and make them as comfortable as possible. It is just one more thing you can do to care for an animal that has given you so much during their lifetime.
Thank you to guest blogger Tim Shank: writer, webmaster, chief cook and bottle washer of welovealldogs.com.