Dogs are wonderful companions at every stage of life but particularly in older age. As we grow older and are perhaps not as social as we once were, some people spend more time on their own and dogs become a beloved source of friendship for many. Their giving nature, loyalty, and generally happy spirit impart so many wonderful benefits on us emotionally and mentally.
Furthermore, being a dog owner also encourages us to get out for regular exercise. As is often the case, as we grow old, our dogs tend to age with us, which can be a lovely thing, as dog and owner help each other to enjoy their later years to the fullest. There are a few things to consider, however, when owning a dog in older age, especially so when that dog is also reaching seniority. In this guide, we present a selection of tips for growing old with your dog, helping dog owners to spend this special time together in a safe and enjoyable way.
Dogs enjoy routine just as much as humans and by making sure that you stick to a regular routine during your older years, you can ensure that life for you and your dog is full of stability. It can be tempting to just do things haphazardly, as and when you please, but by feeding your dog around the same time every day and taking it for a morning and afternoon walk, your dog will be provided with the structure and sense of calm that it needs. Pet Guide says that this will also prevent your dog from misbehaving:
“For a dog, having an established routine reaffirms to him that his primary needs (food, water and shelter) will be readily available whenever he needs them. Simply knowing these needs are satisfied can help prevent him from going into ‘survival’ mode – in other words, mooching, raiding the garbage or scarfing down the cat’s food – just in case his source of sustenance is suddenly cut off.”
Having this structure will also benefit the dog owner, as your day will have a regular framework with responsibilities and walks to look forward to, giving your days purpose – something that many people find lacking as they reach older age.
Daily exercise is crucial for dogs and also beneficial to us humans but as we age with our dogs, we need to be sensible when it comes to going for a walk. You might be used to taking long walks or heading out in the baking hot summer sun but now that your dog is reaching old age, it might not be as capable as it once was. Your dog will still desire to behave as it did several years ago but it’s important that you are looking after its health.
You might also want to consider your own capabilities, perhaps reserving those longer walks for a cooler day or a time when you take the dog out with a friend or family member for a bit of extra caution. Growing old with a dog means knowing your limits, enjoying each other’s company and getting exercise but not putting you or the dog in harm’s way.
You must not be afraid of asking for help during this time in your life. There is no need to do everything on your own. You might be happy taking your dog out for a short walk in the morning but realise that your dog requires a little more exercise each day than you are able to give it. If you are someone who uses a curved stair lift at home, for example, it might be a great help to you if someone else could take your dog out for a more vigorous walk each day. There are professional dog walkers in many communities that will be able to help or you could perhaps ask a neighbour, friend or nearby family member to take your dog out with their own dog. This way your pet will receive the exercise it needs to thrive without you having to overexert yourself.
If you are someone who owns a younger dog, wanting some canine companionship in later life, you might also want to consider utilising a dog trainer. This way you can ensure that your young dog is trained to be a helpful and trusty companion at a time when you might not be able to handle a slightly less obedient pet.
While we all hope for the best, it’s always a good idea to plan for the worst. This is also true when it comes to growing old with a dog. After all, accidents do occur, injuries happen, so make sure that you have an emergency plan in place should something go awry. This can include having the vets telephone number and address in a quickly accessible place that you won’t forget. Knowing the best route to get to the vet and having access to transport. If you don’t have your own car, being located near public transport will help. You could also speak to nearby friends and family members and ask them if they can help you out should you need to make a quick trip to the vet.
Having this line of communication open with those around you will also be important if you yourself ever get into an accident. Having someone nearby who can look after your dog while you are away is important. By putting plans such as this in place, you won’t be worrying about what to do or who to call should something happen.
These days, we are fortunate enough to have online access to vets, making things much easier, so you could also become familiar with these services and utilise a virtual vet for any minor concerns. My Family Vets and Vets Now are two such options, with the latter saying about their video vet service:
“You explain your pet’s symptoms to our online vet, and they examine them by looking and listening to their symptoms on the screen. The vet will either offer advice on caring for your pet at home or, if it’s an emergency, they will help you arrange treatment.”
For inspiration and tips, there are plenty of dog-themed blogs and websites available, many of which might prove useful in the years to come. We have listed a few below that you should certainly check out.
The Dogvine: This is a London lifestyle blog for city dogs, presenting a collection of dog-friendly activities, days out, and events to enjoy. If you are a London dog owner and looking for some tips, this is the place to be.
My Doggie: This blog features a collection of articles on dog training, top dog products, dog health, and dog grooming. If you need some tips or want to learn more about dog behaviour, their articles can help.
Dogs for Adoption: This website is a wonderful resource for those looking to adopt a dog. Having found homes for thousands of dogs over the years, if you are looking for a dog, it’s a great website to visit.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, it’s vital that we try to enjoy each and every minute with these beloved pets of ours. It can be so easy to take a dog for granted, after all, they are there almost every minute of the day. But one day, that will not be the case and those of us who have lost pets know how difficult it can be. So, cherish this time together, enjoy those walks, that time playing in the garden, those cuddles on the sofa, and appreciate the loving companion you are so fortunate to have in your older years.
We hope the above tips have been helpful and will make growing old with your dog a more rewarding and enjoyable experience. Dogs truly are the greatest of friends. They often end up looking after us just as much as we look after them.
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This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.