As dogs age, they slow down. They develop some of the health concerns that aged humans do but, unlike humans, can’t advocate for their own comfort. Caring pet owners may be at a loss for exactly what kind of comfort they can provide their dog. But these suggestions can help you tailor your dog’s environment and favorite objects to make them more comfortable as they age, no matter what health challenges they have going on.
1. Visit the Vet
Your vet is easily your best resource for comforting a senior dog. Pain medication is essential to help many aged pups manage their day-to-day. But that’s not all vets can offer you. They can also show you where your dog may be in pain and what kind of movements or activities might exacerbate the pain. That way, you can approach the rest of this list with a deeper understanding of what your dog may need.
2. Food and Water Access
Try to place your dog’s food and water in a spot that is very comfortable for them to access. Ideally, they would not have to go up or down stairs, or move across slippery surfaces, to get to the food. Although, take care when moving the food or water or a blind dog or one with memory issues. They may need to be brought to the new spot many times before they can get there on their own.
3. Better Bedding Options
When a puppy is young, they’ll sleep straight on hardwood flooring with no issues. Older dogs with joint and muscle pain are less comfortable like this. Providing your dog with a plush bed can help them sleep easier. Just make sure that bed is low to the ground, or it may be too painful for the dog to bother to get into.
4. Food Options
Dogs with teeth problems, mouth sores or gastrointestinal problems may need special diets to be comfortable while eating. You should make these changes with your vet. However, wet foods are generally more comfortable than dry foods, particularly for dogs with teeth problems. Other dogs may need special diets of rice and meat or other foods that are easier on their tummy.
5. Gentle Pets In Lieu of Play
As dogs age, they can spend much less time playing. But they still need as much attention and bonding time with you as they did before. When you’d normally be walking or playing with your dog, instead make the time to pet them gently or engage in games or play that is comfortable for them.
6. Other Extras
There are a few other accessories that can help you comfort an elderly dog, including:
- Sweaters: Older dogs may have trouble regulating their heat. Those in a hot climate might find a sweater is overkill, and a shorter hair cut is what their dog needs.
- Dog booties: More padding and protection for sore feet.
- Ramps: Ease aching joints even when your dog wants to go up the stairs.
- Traction pads: Slippery surfaces can hurt dogs with joint problems.
- Hot or cold pads: Refer to your vet to know which is more likely to comfort your dog’s specific conditions.