Hi Humans,

Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to improve the lives of senior dogs.

Let’s face it. Puppies are adorable. As your puppy grows he will outgrow the puppy stage, but will look to you, as his pet parent, to keep him safe and loved until his final moments.

Dogs age at different rates. For example, a Great Dane or other large breed dog will age “faster” than will a smaller breed dog like a Poodle. Breeds “age” at varying rates, but most dogs are considered seniors when they are between seven- and ten-years-old. Just as humans slow down and need more care as they age, so too, will your dog.  

How can you improve the life of your senior dog? Here are a few ways.

Visit the vet. Dogs are good at hiding their illnesses so it’s important that you schedule regular visits with your veterinarian to assure your dog isn’t suffering any illness that isn’t visible — like a limp would be.

Keep his weight in check. A dog who is overweight is more likely to have hip or joint issues as he ages. Don’t overfeed. If your dog isn’t as active as she once was, you may want to cut back on the amount of food you feed so she will stay at a healthy weight.

Modify the environment. As mentioned, if your dog can no longer walk up stairs without pain, invest in a ramp to make it easier. If your dog is small enough, you may want to carry her up the stairs. Offer your dog a raised food and water bowl to help prevent any neck soreness or stiffness.

Keep active. Your dog may be slowing down and that may mean you need to scale back the length of your walks or the time you spend playing fetch in the backyard. If your senior dog enjoys his walk, don’t eliminate them, just keep them shorter and maybe more frequent. Pay attention to your dog’s body language; he may continue to play, if you’re continuing to throw the ball, well past the time when he is too tired to keep up.

Keep the love coming. Your senior dog has devoted his or her life to you. His presence has enriched your life and made you smile. She has been there for you through good times and bad. Give your dog extra snuggle time. Consider turning on the television and tuning into DOGTV when you leave the house so he will have company until you return.

How have you improved the life of a senior pet you love?