The greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

The Greatest Challenges of Caring for a Senior Dog

The greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

I loved my senior dog Red more than anything, and when she died I fell apart. I would be lying if I said it was always easy caring for her, and I’m honest when I say at times I wished it was over.

I know these are sentiments shared by many senior dog parents, particularly those of us who were and are dealing with serious health issues.

We love them, they’re part of our hearts and souls, and we’re blessed to have them another day. Many of us give up a lot to keep them comfortable and safe. You’ll hear a lot of people say they don’t go on vacations, would rather stay home with their dog than socialise with friends, and spend money on their senior dog’s care rather than on themselves or that they don’t really have.

I feel it’s important to write a post about the challenges of caring for a senior dog for one main reason, and that is so no one feels alone, like they’re the only one that has these challenges and finds it a struggle. That is also one of the reasons why I created my Facebook group Senior Dog Care Club.

Let me clarify – I am not suggesting every senior dog is difficult to care for, no way. This is specifically about those who are ill.

The Greatest Challenges of Caring For a Senior Dog

My biggest challenges caring for Red

In the last few months of her life, when chronic pancreatitis and kidney issues were making it tough for her to eat, and tougher for me to know what to feed her I found those times extremely challenging.

If I want to go further back the really tough times started 2 ½ years before she died when I realised she had dementia. The lead up to that – constant pacing, peeing on the floor, never settling even after hours of wandering. Trips to the vet and tests showed no explanation, and my vet never mentioned the “D” word until one day it popped into my head and I knew.

Times were so tough I would have to leave the house and let her wander. She was safe but I was losing patience and that was not fair to her, because none of this was her fault. It was the feelings of frustration, having no idea how to help her because I had no idea what was wrong with her. I would go for a long walk to the beach, or leave my husband in charge and go shopping for a couple of hours. Those breaks made me a better caregiver.

I would call this next point a stressor rather than a challenge but…my vet is amazing and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. Red was a very complicated case, one of the most he had ever dealt with, but he is so excellent he did a great job helping me. The stressor? He didn’t work every day, he would take vacation or go back to his home country and lecture at the university. I was petrified every time she didn’t feel well in case he wasn’t there to help. Yes there are a couple of other vets at his practice, but none of them could help me with Red if it was anything more complicated than an IV, or perhaps prescribing diarrhea medication. I didn’t trust them with more than that.

There are a couple of other practices in my small town but I wouldn’t take her there even if her life depended on it. So yes, that was a huge stressor for me, worried that we would need him and he would not be around. Thankfully he was there to help me when it was time for her to get her wings, and I was so grateful for that.

what are some of the greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

 

What are some of the challenges facing others who care for old dogs?

The incredible members of my Facebook group very graciously shared their challenges for this article as a way to help others, so thank you everyone!!

Here they are

Caring for two at once that have major, serious illnesses (seizures, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke), keeping all the medications, foods, vet appointments straight, cleaning up after them and hoping I’m giving them good qualities of life. But knowing the time I have with them is not long is probably the worst. If I could have them forever, I would gladly take all the work involved; and that’s something I have to keep reminding myself.

Right now, in these early stages, it’s everyone getting a good nights sleep. One of us sleeps in the living room with Buck every night. His worse time is between 12 and 5. This is in spite of the meds he takes. During the day, he’s pretty much his normal self but in a slower mode. His tail still wags and his eyes still sparkle.

I think my biggest challenge is remembering that this is uncharted territory for him too. We’re both having to learn and adapt as we go. Also, trying to make sure I see the forest for the trees.

Incontinence and keeping her skin healthy around her back end. Getting to know the correct level of exercise needed to help arthritis but not exhausting the heart.

Besides facing the reality ‘that day’ is getting closer…. CCD is a sad emotional roller coaster.

For me like many others it’s the anxiety I feel every day, never knowing if I’m doing enough, wondering when she will go or need to go. I can’t even face the fact that one day she will not be with me. Wilma is very unsettled around 4pm and can pace and whine for 2 – 3 hours, I never know why but it’s the same most days. She’s great in the mornings and sleeps soundly through the night.

There are so many things but mostly am I doing right by them and doing everything I can. I research and research in case there is something new to try. One has dementia and the other has cancer. Some days are exhausting for sure but I just love them both so much.

the biggest challenges of caring for a senior dog

Getting them to finish their dinner

Getting them to keep their dinner in💟

Having accidents on herself & her not even knowing she did. Struggling to walk due to arthritis. Not wanting to take her medication. And knowing our time grows shorter every day with new struggles. Seems to be good one day and then completely different the next day.

Seems like ever since my boy got older he thinks rules don’t apply to him anymore. Like when we sit on the couch with any kind of food he will get up next to our face & stare. He never did that til about 6 months ago. We tell him to get down & he just goes to the other side of the couch. Lol stinker

Guinness does that with his CCD, it’s like his brain short circuits because the focus is on “what’s that!?” and disregards boundaries/tasks. He does it on our walks outside too, so if a leaf blows you can bet he’s not going to do his business. Ha!

Deciding on when is the right time for them to go to the rainbow bridge…. hoping it happens while he’s sleeping … no pain , just an old man ❤️

Not worrying too much about how much longer I will have them💕

I sometimes get impatient with my girl Hanna, she has incontinence and have to let her out often! Also worried that she’s in pain, but I don’t think she is yet!

Being patient .. it’s like it was when I was my mother’s care giver .. you do not get angry at them you get angry about the situation.. and you have to learn to accept that some days are harder then others.

Figuring out what mixture of treats and food will convince her to eat her breakfast. (2) Feeling new and growing bumps every time I give her rubs even though every one tested has been nothing more than a simple lipoma (3) knowing that she’s 10 and she won’t be here forever (4) every new white fleck on her face equates to another day older.

the greatest challenges facing senior dog caregivers

Sleep! I have had several senior dogs before, but none of them had CCD. Thanks to this group and the CCD one, we are doing much better overall, but the thing that is still the hardest for me to manage, is the lack of sleep. With all the herbal support we are getting, on our good nights, about 5 hours, if we are lucky sometimes 6 hours. On our bad nights we get from 30 minutes to a couple hours of sleep. This started back in October last year. With all the things I have learned here, things have improved. But since you asked, the hardest thing for me to manage is the lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep and worrying about making the final decision

Heavy panting middle of the night, waking up to take her out 2am, missing the days where she could run across fields, trying to get her to walk just a little bit longer, watching the deterioration, always rushing home from work and worrying about her, crying when I think of life without her one day… but there is the joy of how loving and sweet and devoted she is, and how blessed we are to have her so long.

Every time those tears come when you think of not having her, make it a point to make one memory with her and take a photo of it. Get her pawprint in plaster, sit with her on the grass, even just looking into her face and telling her how much you love her.

The niggling thought in the back of my mind as we enjoy the sun, love and joy of a perfect day of how many such days we may have left. The wonderful days win – I would do it a million times over always together no matter what now and forever after.

Just knowing that I am doing all I can to give him a good quality of life.

Patience

your greatest challenges caring for a senior dog

Biggest challenge is when they start failing physically but still have a lot of life left. I wish I had known of the things that make things easier! Belly bands to help with incontinence and lift straps and harness with handles. A nice doggy stroller is a must!! Just like with people, you don’t stop living because of some physical problems. There are so many things out there now and many people don’t know about them..

Knowing where it ends. I let no moment pass. No treat withheld. I lost the sister of my sibling pair 2 months ago. I regret nothing. Not the vet bills. Not the missed work. But the end….that was hard. I’m a nurse, who once was a paramedic. I’m no stranger to death. I knew what was coming and I had to be strong anyway. That’s the hardest. The end.

Never knowing if I’m providing the help they really need, instead of what I think they need.

Dealing with the slowing down and changes associated with her aging. And trying to figure out the best solutions for these problems as they arise. She has arthritis and trying to determine when we have walked enough, when she might be in pain, and how to best care for her.

Definitely eating, general nourishment and taking medication he may be on. Just when I think I found a consistent food he likes, he stops eating it!

I don’t even know where to begin. My baby boy has bone cancer which the vet said is aggressive and gave him a few months to a year. He’s big and I live on the second floor and what will I do when he can’t do the stairs but he is otherwise ok?? I have cried so much and each day is a challenge. I say this is my new norm. This is my life. It’s mentally and physically exhausting at times and I feel guilty saying that. Finding this group has been the best thing for me. I will need support of others who can identify with me. 🐾💙

Getting my senior not to climb out of the ”chair “she has to eat in because of her Mega Esophagus.

Especially with my CCD guy who is unknowingly annoying at times – and sadness as I watch him decline – and hoping we have more time😢😢❤️🐾 feeling Helpless too. I can’t “fix” him😢😢

Seeing my mostly healthy dog struggle with some physical stuff without an answer to really help. Also preparing my kids that our dog won’t be here forever – she was here before them 😢

Long hair between paw pads on timber or smooth floor, failing eyesight at night on stair an inability to run and play like used to with her younger sister🙏❤

Reading all these posts makes me so grateful to be part of this group. I know it will make the next few years with Hope better for both of us. Thank you again for adding me.

biggest challenges facing caregivers of senior dogs

My 15 year old toy poodle Rocky becoming blind almost a year ago. Seeing him bumping into things and going around in circles a lot, stepping on his own poop when I’m not home and coming out positive for heartworms and not afford to get treatment. He has dental problems that needs teeth to be extracted. Everyone says I’m selfish that he’s “suffering” to just put him to sleep

Wondering if her panting means she is in pain.. Worrying worrying

My beautiful 17 yr. old Gigi is mostly blind past few months. Hearing still good but wanders around now bumping into walls, furniture, etc….softly, but still bumping. Can’t leave her alone on my bed…she walks right off. So sad but we cope & support her with love.

Just accepting that my babe is elderly and right now feeling like we are on borrowed time

Dealing with her dementia…it really hurts to see her not hardly ever herself anymore.

I’m having difficulty accepting her mortality. She’s like a kid to me and shouldn’t die before I do.

Getting good pictures. 😂

Hardest part for us is that Miss Gretel doesn’t like to be cuddled anymore as she “never” stops walking these days …… I would love to cuddle up in bed with her :'( :'(

Keeping my worries to myself so Shadow doesn’t feel them. But, she’s been doing great mobility-wise since the stem cell infusion, which has given her back her youthful spunk and sassiness. My other big challenge is not so much with her as it is with hubby, who has some dementia and can’t always understand that Shadow’s super-sensitive GI tract cannot handle all the “people food” he sneaks to her when I’m not there to stop him.

$$$

Not knowing if I am doing the right thing and/or if I am giving her what she needs.

My 18 1/2 year old is starting to dribble/wet at night. I have him on a pee pad. I got diapers i didn’t like them. Now i got belly bands i like them but they get wet on the sides. Kotex with them??

Could you relate to some of what was said?

It’s tough reading what so many people are going through, yet I am happy there is a community for everyone to share their experiences, ask for and offer support, and discuss treatments and options that have helped.

Are you experiencing something similar? Why not share your story in the comment section below.

 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

 

 

 

Eight things I learned caring for a senior dog

Eight things I Learned Caring For a Senior Dog

Eight things I learned caring for a senior dog

I shared nine fantastic years with my dog Daisy who sadly crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in April when she was 13.

She had arthritis from the age of four when I first rescued her, but was so lively and only slowed her down in her final few months.

Two months before we lost her, Daisy was diagnosed with dementia, and a week before she passed her vet suspected she had a brain tumour.

Caring for a senior dog is both rewarding and heartbreaking and I found the advice on this website so helpful and comforting.

You go through so many emotions and it can be difficult, so I wrote this article about some of the things I learned caring for Daisy in the hope it will help other owners.

Eight Things I Learned Caring For a Senior Dog

Ensure they have quality sleep

All dogs love snoozing in the day, but I learned not to let Daisy sleep for long periods. One of the signs of dementia is restlessness at night.

Before Daisy was diagnosed we had a few nights where she woke up at 2am and wouldn’t settle. I took her to bed and she either sat shaking, wide awake or circled around the bed.

So we’d go for a walk and eventually she would go to sleep.

Her restlessness and insomnia were on the list of unusual characteristics that we took to her vet who said it was most likely she had dementia.

In the final months, she would settle in her crate on a huge soft pillow, or sleep on a comfy bed, with blackout blinds or with me in the human bed.

I also monitored sleep quality with her FitBark activity monitor.

Make walks/playtime fun

Like many owners, I was guilty of using my phone while out walking with Daisy until I learned how our pets hate it.

I made sure walks were special time for the two of us. Sometimes I’d take her ball and do very small throws for her – a modified version of something she really enjoyed.

Some dogs might not want to walk quite so much, or not fancy going out in the cold weather but it’s important to keep them mentally stimulated.

Play games at home with them. Daisy liked her tug toys and games where we hid treats under cups for her to find them, and we used a Ruffle Snuffle enrichment mat and a Lickimat too, both were really reasonably priced and gave her a lot of happiness.

Your dog might not be bounding around like they used to or tend to sleep more but giving them your attention often is still really important.

Give them food they really enjoy

When Daisy was diagnosed with dementia I was recommended a book called Whole Pet Healing by an American vet, Dr Dennis W Thomas.

He talks about the benefit of giving dogs wholesome, balanced meals rather than processed food and explains that as dogs age, their body temperature can start to cool.

They seek out warmth, for example lying in the sun or by a fire or radiator. Daisy did this and Dr Thomas said to give her food that is warming in nature to offset the cold imbalance.

As I work from home I had the luxury of being able to cook for Daisy so I made her slow cooked casseroles with chicken, beef or lamb and rice or potatoes and veg served warm.

She had wet food so she had the nutrients she needed. It meant she enjoyed her food, took her medication without a fuss and was a happy girl.

Warming foods are chicken, beef, lamb, venison, white rice, oats, asparagus, carrots, potato, pumpkin and butternut squash.

Eight things learned from caring for a senior dog

Hide their medication as much as you can

I read a book called Remember Me by Eileen Anderson with lots of helpful advice including tips on how to minimise the stress of taking medication for your dog.

Find a food your dog loves – Eileen suggests all kinds of things from meatballs to peanut butter.

Daisy had two Vivitonin tables a day which ideally should be taken on an empty stomach.

Her vet said they could be put in a tidbit so I’d wrap them in a piece of slow cooked meat or inside a sausage. I kept tablets in the fridge too – it helps disguise their taste.

You don’t want to distress your dog when they take their medication. Her Activait and YuMove supplements were mixed in with her food and I ensured her food was so nice she didn’t care!

Daisy also had Metacam for her arthritis, and I gave her this in a syringe just as I put out her food bowl. The excitement of her food distracted her.

Create a safe space for them

Daisy never used a crate, preferring to sleep on the sofa, but when she reached the stage where she could no longer jump up, she grew to really love her crate.

We kept the door open and it had a cover so it would be dark at night, with a huge comfy bed, a soft blanket and toys.

We put down rugs, runners and carpet tiles so she didn’t slip as recommended by vet Hannah Capon who runs the Canine Arthritis Management website,  which is full of helpful tips.

Daisy had a pet carrier/bed and a pup-poose for when we were out if she got tired.

What I learned from caring for a senior dog

Expect the unexpected

A week after Daisy was diagnosed we went for a walk along the canal. She was scampering around as normal, and went for a wee at the side of the water, lost her balance and slipped in.

Thank goodness she was OK and I had her out of there in a nano-second.

I very quickly learned that cognitive function is affected by dementia and Daisy’s behaviour wasn’t as logical as it was.

She would lie on the edge of the couch for example, so I’d coax her to her normal spot so she didn’t fall off, and had soft rugs on the floor.

Daisy would sometimes walk along walls or on the edge of paths, or very close to me so you have to watch your dog at all times.

This may sound silly but even things like grids at the side of the road become a hazard. Daisy’s legs were so slim they could get trapped in them and before, she knew to walk around them so I’d ensure she didn’t step on them.

Make sure you’re always scanning your walks for things that could present danger.

Enjoy every moment

It’s natural to be upset when you learn your dog has a degenerative illness.

But life doesn’t stop with an older dog, it simply changes.

Celebrate the good times and help them enjoy life.

If Daisy was having a good day, we’d seize the moment, pack up the car and take her on an adventure.

We didn’t walk for miles and miles like we used to, but she still enjoyed a run out.

Daisy loved new smells so I’d take her to different places and see her spring around like a pup.

She enjoyed home cooked food so I’d sneak her tablets in there and watch happily as she wolfed it down.

When Daisy growled at us at night we knew it was her illness, not her, so we’d give her a cuddle and tell her everything was ok.

We treasured each day we had with her.

Things I have learned about how to care for a senior dog

The hardest part is goodbye but it is the kindest too

I knew when Daisy wanted to go. As well as dementia, she had a brain tumour and it was a ticking time bomb.

Our vet told us that around the corner was a haemorrhage or seizure which would have been terrifying for Daisy.

We took some time to digest the news and in those few days, she declined quickly.

On walks she was frightened, darting around as the tumour was pressing on her optic nerve and she couldn’t see.

We’d return home and I’d cuddle her for hours, playing music to calm her down.

Her frightened episodes became more and more frequent, and even though she was eating, going out to the loo and walking, I knew this wasn’t how she wanted to live.

Daisy had been a tough, independent dog who survived on the streets and had so much spirit. The light in her eyes had gone.

So on April 17th this year, the vet came to our home and put Daisy to sleep.

It was peaceful, with us sitting next to her stroking and cuddling her and telling her how much we loved her.

I still question myself now. Did we do it too soon or too late? I will never know but I feel I did my best for her.

For nine years Daisy gave me so much love. She was my best friend, my rock. I still can’t imagine life without her.

I never wanted to say goodbye and even though it was the worst moment of my life when we did, I think it was the kindest thing.

 

 

 

Rachel Spencer and DaisyRachel Spencer is a freelance journalist and specialises in writing about pets and animals. She lives in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and runs a pet blog, The Paw Post which was inspired by Daisy and will continue as her legacy.

how to make your home senior dog friendly

How to Make Your Home Senior Dog Friendly

As pups start to get older it’s important to start looking at ways to make your home senior dog friendly.

Why is that important, and what does it even mean you ask? It simply means evaluating your dog’s current health issues, and looking at ways you can make it easier for your dog to get around.

For example – if your dog has some vision issues, don’t move the furniture around. If he’s having a bit of trouble walking or keeping his balance, you might want to put some area rugs down on a tile or wood floor. Both of these suggestions will reduce the chance of injury.

Let’s back up a bit

I realise I am a fan of stating the obvious but I can’t help it!! I take this whole “living with a senior dog thing” very seriously. I am going to assume if you’re noticing behaviour changes, no matter how slight, you’ve already made an appointment with the vet. If you haven’t, please do. Never assume that because your dog is getting older, changes are inevitable and there’s making-your-home-senior-dog-friendlynothing you can do.

Okay back to the article

It really is such an easy thing to do, even the smallest changes can make the biggest differences in terms of comfort and accessibility.

Not every point I mention will be relevant, but it’s good to know just in case it does become an issue for you, or someone you know, down the road

Furniture

Because my dog is blind, I don’t move furniture around. As a matter of fact I sometimes move it out of the way. I had a coffee table in the middle of the living room which she always managed to avoid, however now that she’s developed dementia she’s bang right into it so I moved it and it no longer is in her way. This may not be relevant in your case, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Clutter on the floors

I never leave clutter on the floor, that goes for dog toys, blankets, shoes… anything she could trip over. I don’t anyway, but I’m extra vigilant because of those who would!! If you have an arthritic dog even the smallest obstacle can be difficult to maneuver around. 

Ramps and steps

If your dog has always enjoyed a good snuggle amongst the couch cushions or likes to sleep in bed with you, a ramp or some steps will allow her easy access without relying on you to put her on, and take her off. It’s also safer in case you aren’t around, and she jumps off and hurts herself.

Eating and drinking

For some reason, and I really don’t know why, the thought of raising Red’s food and water bowls off the ground popped into my head one day. It wasn’t because of something that happened, or because she looked like she was having how to make your home senior dog friendlytrouble, I just thought it would be a good idea, so I did. And it was!

There are lots of raised bowls available in a variety of styles, materials and sizes. If you’re thinking of getting one (or a couple!) you may want to consider the following:

When you’re figuring out the height, you don’t want your dog to have to stretch her neck up to reach

If you get a 2 bowl feeder, do you have room to keep it out (you’ll have to for the water)

Do you prefer one that adjusts, or you’ll measure how high off the floor it should be and buy a fixed height bowl?

In a 2 bowl feeder, your dog’s dry kibble may end up in the water bowl, and vice versa.  A 1 bowl feeder may be your preference. 

Beware of knobs, door handles and sharp objects

If your dog has vision problems or even dementia, be aware of door handles, knobs and any other sharp objects that may be sticking out at head level.  

For example, the water bowl in the kitchen is right next to a drawer handle. Since it’s the only place I can put it I made it safer by wrapping fabric around the handle so Red won’t get hurt. 

Wires and cables

Keeping wires and cables tucked safely away and out of reach of pets is good practice, no matter what age or type of pet you have. Not only can they be a trip hazard, but someone might thing they look like interesting toys to chew on!! Even if they’ve been in full view for years, you never know so better out of the way and safe.  

Access to stairs

It’s entirely possible your pup is still running up and down those stairs like a youngster and why not!! However, if your dog has become a bit unsteady, is suffering from joint pain or has vision problems, putting a baby gate at the top and bottom of the stairs will prevent any accidents should he decide he wants to go exploring. 

Bed 

I realise talking about beds isn’t exactly in line with the point of the article, making your home senior dog friendly but it kind of is so I’m going with it. 

Obviously if your dog is restless you’re taking him to the vet, but have you noticed if he’s avoiding his bed? 

You may find your dog’s taste in beds has changed, I know that has happened with Red. For the first few years she was happy with her plus 3 sided beds, the lower front portion made it easy to get in and out of, and she loved leaning against the side like a pillow. I don’t think she found the pillow as “poufy” as she would have liked, and added a blanket didn’t quite make a difference. Then she loved this round, high sided sturdy bed we bought. Although I always advocate for beds with at least one low side for them to easily get in and out of, she doesn’t really have mobility issues, and even with her tiny little legs she had no trouble climbing in and out of it. ways to make your home safe for senior dogs

Now the only beds she uses are human comforters with covers I put over them. They’re quite big so she gets as much support as she likes, and they’re easy enough to fluff up so she can fold it the way she likes.

I always keep a blanket on each bed in case she gets cold, she can wrap herself in it.

A self heating mat or a hot water bottle give extra comfort.

Hustle and bustle

Your home may have been party central, and your dog loved the activity and hub bub, but if you notice him disappearing more these days, he may be finding it harder/scarier to deal with. That doesn’t mean you have to stop having friends round, but it would be helpful to set up a quiet area your dog can go when he needs some space. A separate room or even an unused closet with the door partially open will do. Set it up with a nice comfy bed, a favourite toy, a bowl of water and maybe even a pheromone calming diffuser. Even if you’ve never used a crate before, it may prove comforting. Add a bed, blanket and toy, cover part of it to create a den and leave the door open so he can come and go as he pleases.

Playing a calming cd created specifically to relax dogs can be very helpful. Red calms down immediately when she listens to Through a Dog’s Ear. 

Carpets or runners on the floor

I know you’re loving your new tile or wood flooring, and the last thing you want to do is cover it up. It’s also possible you’ve been noticing your dog slipping and sliding on that beautiful floor!! There’s no reason to cover up the entire thing, but putting down some area rugs will make it safer for your dog to walk on. 

Extra water bowls and beds

So my dogs don’t have to go searching for beds and water bowls, particularly if they have sight problems or mobility issues, I add a couple around the house so there’s always one pretty close by. 

Indoor comfort

I know quite a few people who keep a window open all the time, and yes even in the winter. Personally I like a nice toasty home, but it’s not about me it’s about what your dog likes? Older dogs tend to feel the cold more, so if you notice your dog shivering inside, buy him a sweater. A coat may also be a good idea to where while on walks. This is not about dressing your dog up like a doll (I can’t stand when people do that), this is purely for practical reasons. Red shivers easily and wears a sweater inside for several months, and when we’re out I put a coat on top of that. 

Keep the doors open (NOT the front door!)

Because Red is blind, I make sure every room’s door is left open. I shouldn’t have to state the obvious but since I can’t help myself…obviously not the front door, basement door… Of course it drives my husband crazy because he keeps saying I let the heat out, but what can you do!! She knows her way around the house, and I don’t want this foam on the door will help make your home senior dog friendlyher banging into something she knows shouldn’t be there!

How to make your home senior dog friendly – conclusion

Take a walk around your house and try and visualise what sorts of things can cause an issue for your dog, and come up with creative solutions. For example, I put foam on the doors and table legs so if Red bangs into them, it cushions the blow. 

 

What changes have you made to make your home more senior dog friendly? Join my new FB group Senior Dog Care Club and share your helpful tips. Ask questions, get advice and meet other members sharing and caring for their senior dogs. 

 

 

 

the joy of living with a senior dog

The Joy of Living With a Senior Dog

the joy of living with a senior dog

Is it our general attitude about all things “old” that causes us to see old dogs as not worthy of our love and care? As something that is ready to be casually tossed, replaced with a younger, faster and “better” model? I suppose in many cases that is true, certainly not for those who share their lives with senior dogs, or do so much to rescue and care for them, and definitely not in my case.

While those of us who have dogs with health issues know the stress and worry it causes at times, we also know it is not only about the sad and the difficult. Of course it isn’t!

 

If you’ve had the pleasure of your dog’s company for his whole entire life, there must be so much joy for the times you shared, and for times yet to be shared.  I’ve never had a puppy, preferring to adopt old dogs and that to me is pure joy.

I can’t think of many greater feelings than caring for dogs who are homeless at the end of their lives. It is impossible for me to convey the depth of emotion I experience when I save an older dog’s life, when I go to the shelter and pick up a dog who would have died alone, in a scary and unfamiliar environment. 

the joy of living with a senior dog

I love when my dogs sit next to me on the couch as I read a book, or snuggle up with each other – giving and getting comfort when needed.

Just like dogs of every age, my oldies are so happy to see me (those who can!) if I’ve been out for a while, and although they’re left in very comfortable surroundings, you can see how much safer they feel when I’m around. 

In addition to all that, I also like lower energy dogs. That is not to say “senior” means “slow”by any stretch, senior is simply a number marked by the turn of a calendar page. Plenty of old dogs are outrunning their puppy counterparts, and are more active than ever, that’s just a bit too energetic for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong – they all need time outside to sniff and explore, and to walk at whatever pace is comfortable for them, and that’s perfect for me. I don’t want to have to hike miles every day in order to satisfy their needs. If I want to take that hike periodically, and would like the company of one of my dogs as I do it, I get out the pet stroller and off we go together. 

So yes, while there may or may not be health challenges in your dog’s life, showing kindness and compassion to these wonderful creatures who bring so much joy into our lives, is what it’s all about. Not to mention caring for a senior dog is good for the soul.

 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**