Caring For Your Old Dog

Caring for your old dog

It’s hard to exactly how long your beloved pooch will live because it all depends on breed, care and background. However, on average, dogs live to around 12 years old (in human years, that is). Of course, some can live much longer than this, twelve is the average age, with seven years old being classed as middle aged. So how do you make sure your old dog gets the best care in his old age and lives a long and happy last few years. Well, we have compiled some advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy existence for your maturing best friend.

Comfort

Dogs are a bit like humans in this sense. The older they get the more comfortable they want to be. As such, you should make sure your dogs has a gorgeously comfy bed that is away from the humdrum of the house and away from any draughts that could give them the shivers. Imagine where you would want to be, and go from there. The other thing you should take into consideration is the floor surrounding their bed. If it’s slippery, then rethink the positioning or buy a nice thick and stable rug that will allow them to maneuver without issue.

The other area of similarity between old dogs and old people can be made in their changing toilet needs. Old dogs will start needing ‘to go’ a lot more frequently as they grow old. As such, it is important you make note of any changes and discuss these with your doctor so that they can inform you of how to best address the issue.

Accessibility

This is such an important change to make. You need to adapt to your dog’s requirements, and that means ensuring they have everything they could possibly want and need close to their bed. Food, water, and toys are the main three things in this respect.

Feeding Habits

As a dog matures, you will need to consider how their dietary requirements may change. The best way to address these new needs is to speak to your vet, who will be able to advise you based on breed, weight, activity and health. But a pretty solid rule of thumb is, when your dog reaches middle age, start thinking about a putting them onto a diet designed for older dogs.

Other things you should be addressing are their dental hygiene. Dogs need strong and healthy teeth, so do your due diligence on what dental treats are out there for your doggy. It is also important to take into consideration any other dogs you may have in your home. For example, if you have a puppy, who is sprightly and full of energy, make sure your older dog doesn’t have to compete with him for food. This isn’t fair on them. The same goes for water. You should have a separate water bowl for your older dog, which you should monitor closely. Any concerns you have about their water intake should be discussed with your vet.

Should you share your bed with your doggy?

Dog bed

We’re a nation of animal lovers. Around 53% of pet owners consider their four-legged friends to be a member of the family so it’s not surprising that so many of us choose to share the duvet with our pets. Even Queen Victoria is reputed to have shared her death bed with her Pomeranian! They’re our best friends, and a little terrier or collie can make a great hot water bottle in the winter nights, so why wouldn’t we want to cuddle up with them at night time?

Whilst it’s tempting to think that the best option for our pets is to cosy up with us our beds are getting higher whilst our doggies, well, they’re still the same height. The frames are taller as they are increasingly being manufactured to include storage drawers, and cosy mattresses are getting larger to accommodate our human needs, but the longer jump off of them can potentially hurt your pet’s paws. What’s best for humans unfortunately isn’t always what is best for man’s best friend.

From a dog training perspective, a lot of trainers advise that owners choose to offer a separate bed for their pet. This is because as the owner, it is important to maintain your position as pack leader, but dogs can perceive sharing a sleeping area to indicate that you are their subordinate. Whilst this may not be problematic if you’ve established yourself as the “alpha” of the family pack, if your dog is feeling anxious or aggressive these behaviours may be exacerbated by your sleeping arrangement and could mean that you’re at risk of a nip or bite.

Thankfully it isn’t all doom and gloom as adjusting to sleeping separately from your pet doesn’t need to be difficult or disruptive for you or your pet. There are a wide variety of affordable cushions and blankets that can be a comfortable alternative for your pet. The key to making the transition is that your pet understands they’re not being punished and that this new arrangement is just as comfortable as the old. Thankfully there is a wealth of advice available at the click of a button to help owners with implementing this change in their sleeping arrangements.

Having a special sleeping area for your doggy means that your sheets and fabrics are less likely to become full of rogue hairs and germs your pet will have brought in from the garden or their walk. That King Size you splashed out on from BedStar won’t be monopolised by Lassie (and her hairs!) so there will be more space for you to stretch out. You can treat yourself to some new bed linen and throw cushions knowing that little Bruno won’t be chewing on them during the night or leaving them full of fur. Sleeping independently from your pet won’t mean that you love them any less; hopefully it will mean a good night’s sleep for both of you, and less wear and tear on your bedding.