I just love my senior dog!! He has been by my side for 15 years. Lately, as he gets older and slower I have been changing some of the ways we used to do things. I will share with the best way to manage an old dog in pain and how you can help to make your old dogs life better?
My 15 years old dog, for most of his life, has been CRAZY. He's a Terrier, originally bred to hunt and yes, perhaps, I wasn't the dog trainer that I thought I'd be. But, he is adorable. He looks like a teddy bear but has the character of a Tasmanian Devil.
I have always ensured he is well exercised and mentally challenged. There are certain things that I have learned to manage. He hates other dogs, mostly. He hates, or maybe he LOVES noises and movement like skateboards, vacuum cleaners, mops, trucks ... oh the list goes on.
Most terriers like him that I have met are all the same. He is naughty and smart and bossy and highly intelligent but he has been a handful for about 13 of his 15 years.
How to know your dog is getting old?
You will know! You will see the changes in your dog. Here are some of the common changes in old dogs:
- Energy levels decrease
- Shorter walks and play times
- Eyes start to go cloudy and dim
- Takes longer to stand up or sit down
- Fur has less lustre and shine
- Hard of hearing
- Becomes really cuddly
- Maybe get jumpy or scared
- Gets cold or hot quickly
- Increased sickness or ailments
- Weight loss or gain
8 Ways To Help An Old Dog In Pain
I love my senior dog, he is so cuddly and snuggly these days. Although he has slowed down it makes him much easier to catch when he is running away. He is softer and floppier and loves being lifted off the couch or into the car. He still loves the beach but now takes the time to sit and smell the sea air, sniff the seaweed and dip his toes in the water.
Lately, I have been looking for ways to help my senior dog be more comfortable and help with his health and daily life. Here are some ways that you may be able to help your old dog.
1. Health Check With Your Vet
I take my old dog to the vet every 6 months or more if I think he needs a checkup. We check his movement, joints, pain, teeth and the usual doggy doctors visit. The vet will recommend any medication to help with his joints or supplements that may help with a comfortable life and therfore preventing further deterioration.
2. Grooming and Maintenance
My dog gets groomed and pampered every 3 months or so. His coat needs a shave, particularly in summer but even in winter it helps to keep his coat neat, tangle free. Even is you have a short hair dog that doesn't need to be trimmed, give your dog a nice bath to keep them clean.
Keep an eye on your old dogs nails. Older dogs tend to walk or run less and the nails will grow longer than they used to. Also, older dogs with joint or back issues may tend to drag their toes when they walk. This may wear down the toe nails more often that they used to and start to hurt your dog.
Whether your dog has a professional groom or you do it yourself. Give your dog a rub or massage and while doing so you can check their nails, in between their paws for burrs and prickles, ears and any odd lumps and bumps on your dog .
3. A Comfortable Dog Bed
An old dog will sleep for a long time, usually much longer than they did as a younger dog. With all these extra hours asleep or laying down your dog will love a new bed.
Try to get your dog a nice comfy padded bed that will be kind on his aching bones and joints. If you old dog has weak legs, I have also found that a soft, fluffy is often difficult for them to get their legs organised and often get a little tangled.
4. Doggy Painkillers
This decision is between you and your vet and will depend on the overall health of your dog. About a year ago, my dog fell down the stairs. His back legs have become weaker and he just lost his footing. Having banged hard into the wall, he looked at me and I new he was hurting. The vets said that tough little terriers won't often tell you that they have been hurt so we knew he needed some help
Fortunately there were no broken bones, so we put him on some anti-inflammatories and gave him some extra love and he bounced back in no time at all.
His blood tests have been exceptional and he has great kidney function so I tend to give him some anti-inflammatories if he needs it after a long walk or if he is feeling particularly sore. Always see your vet for advice on medication.
5. Supplements For Better Health
Older dogs are often plagued with joint problems and arthritis. This is a concern for all dogs, not just for larger dogs. A great supplements for most dogs is a good fish oil or joint supplement and even CBD is having wonderful results.
6. Warm Coat For Winter
Older dogs will snuggle more and try to get close to you or you may see them shivering from time to time. Senior dogs find it more difficult to regulate their temperature and often get cold in the winter.
A warm coat will help keep your old dog warm and comfortable. Check out these fashion statements for your cool and classy dogs.
7. Keep Walking and Exercising
Even if your dog is stiff and sore, keep up the exercise. Your dog will love gentle walks around the block or up the street.
I take my dog to the beach to walk on the soft sand. He also loves the smells and sounds of the ocean. He sometimes plays in the water on a calm day. I try to get him wading along in the water for a little hydrotherapy class.
Try not to rush your dog when walking. Set the time aside and concentrate on the quality of the walk not the distance being walked. I know that younger dogs are great for our own exercise regime and can pound out a good 5 or 10 miles. Older dogs will doddle along and get as much stimulation from the smells along the street. Walk slowly and allow your dog time to smell and discover.
8. Adjust Your Dogs Diet
Dogs dietary requirements will change as they get older. Some will eat less and some will eat more. It is important to adjust your dogs food quantity so that they do not put on weight. The extra pounds that your dog puts on will put extra pressure on your old dogs sore joints. Keep them lean and healthy but keeping up with gentle exercise, reducing the amount of food or changing your dogs food to one for weight management.
There are some changes that you may need to make as your dog gets older. By keeping your dog healthy and happy your dog will continue to bring you lots of love in return.