Just because your dog isn’t the pup he once was doesn’t mean all is lost. As our dog’s age, just like people, their capabilities and interests may change. Adjusting the world to help your dog progress through life as comfortably as possible is the goal. Implementing a few ways to keep an old dog happy and healthy will make your time together much more meaningful.
Quality time is still as important to your dog as it always was, maybe even more so. As your dog ages and is less able to do the things he used to do, be sure not to grow distant. Dogs are very intuitive, and you don’t want it to feel as if you’re pulling away. They need you and your love more than ever as they begin to lose some of their senses and instincts.
In addition to ensuring your dog gets quality time with you, he still needs to be socialized. Depression in older dogs is relatively common as they lose the ability to join in on other pups’ activities. Allow them to continue to socialize at the level they are capable of. Let your dog walk with you to the mailbox and say hello to neighboring pups. Even if it’s merely being able to nap next to another canine, the socialization will alleviate feelings of isolation that come with old age.
There are many ways to administer different levels of comfort to your furry friend. Besides quality time, your dog can be comforted in other ways. Try doing some of the things he always loved, such as taking a leisurely drive. It may be harder to get him in the car, but there are rear and front-mounting dog harnesses that allow you to bear the weight to help your dog walk or climb. Using supportive products like these relieves pressure on the legs and hips, which is incredibly beneficial in allowing you to still share times of comfort and togetherness.
As your dog ages, he may not be able to do all of the activities he used to do. There are various ways to use adaptive activities to keep your dog moving and using his senses. As eyesight starts to worsen, consider playing scent games with your pup. This allows him to rely on his sense of smell to find a treat, which can be exciting.
You can still take walks, but they may need to be shorter and on softer, flatter terrain. Keeping your dog active will only extend life and allow for muscle strength to be maintained. The exercise will also increase the heart rate and get the blood pumping, which is advantageous for both you and your pup.
Read your dog’s body language and don’t push past his limits. However, the better you can maintain everyday life, the more enjoyable your time together will be. Ensuring your dog stays lively in a gentler way while playing to his current strengths will allow him to remain present. Implementing different ideas and ways to keep an old dog happy and healthy will inevitably boost its second half of life.