Your dog isn't just a pet; he is a furry member of the family. Just like other members of the family, you want to see him live a long, healthy, and happy life. As your dog grows into his golden years, his muscles weaken and his mobility progressively reduces. He is now more vulnerable to injuries and arthritis, which can then cause further aches and pains. Creating the perfect environment for your older dog to thrive in can help to extend both the duration and the quality of the later years of his life.
The last thing you want is for him to suffer in the last years of his life. Follow these tips below to give you and your dog the best chance of enjoying his later years:
#1 Make sure he rests- a lot!
Think of how you feel after sleeping on a bad hotel mattress. You wake up hurting! Everything from your lower back to your neck is painful and sore. It becomes more important as your dog becomes older to have a firm and supportive bed. A blanket on the ground may have been fine for him as a puppy, but now he needs a little bed of his own. As well as a good bed, it is important to allow your dog to have an adequate amount of rest time throughout the day. Sleep is one of the keys for regeneration and healing of body tissues. The right amount of solid, deep sleep means his muscles and joints can recuperate. Place his new bed in a location free from chilly drafts and excessive noise.
#2 Keep his mobility in mind.
Slippery surfaces and hard to navigate terrain, such as stairs, can create both difficulty in movement and pain for an older dog. These risky places also create a higher chance of injuries. His weaker muscles have to work hard to hold up legs on slippery floors or make it up and down stairs. Consider putting down runners, rugs, or mats to make all the surfaces in your home less slippery. Placing ramps over areas where there are only a few stairs, like your front porch, can make it safer for him to navigate. Placing gates at the top and bottom of the stairs can also reduce the risk of injury. If your dog is needing assistance with mobility, then use a custom knee brace to provide extra support. Ordering a brace will ensure he has the adequate support he needs to avoid injury or heal from a previous fall.
#3 Clear out any toxins from your home.
Just because you're out of the puppy phase doesn't mean you don't need to worry about what he'll get into! It is important to think about the products your pet’s paws may come into contact with. House cleaning products, shampoos, and even snacks that are edible for you are deadly for him. Chemicals and other toxins can get on his feet and when he licks them, it will get into his system. This will affect an older dog’s health even more than a younger dog, as his immune system is frail.