How to Keep an Aging Dog Comfortable at Home

Old chocolate labAt VetDC, we often come across helpful articles that have relevance not only for dogs with lymphoma and other cancers, but also for any dog that might be ailing or simply showing signs of old age. The needs of your dog will change as they get older. You may need to change their diet and look out more for signs of health problems.

As with other older family members, it may also be necessary to make some life adjustments to accommodate their needs. Given that cancer in dogs often shows up more frequently as they get older, we wanted to share this information in the hope that it might help make life just a bit more comfortable and enjoyable for your four-legged family members.

 

Here are eight useful tips to keep your aging dog comfortable at home:

1. Buy adjustable food dishes
Replace their water and food bowls with ones that are elevated or height-adjustable. Some dogs have difficulty bending down to the same height as before without discomfort. The elevated bowl will reduce the stress on their necks and joints.

2. Don’t forget their exercise
While you may not be able to take your dog for runs like you used to, it’s important to get them enough exercise. Regular walks in the park can help them maintain their muscles, and it also stimulates appetite, according to DVM Jenny Taylor.

3. Improve the safety of their living space
Age brings with it a decrease in vision and hearing for your dog, increasing the risk of injury from obstacles in their way. Of course, you may need to add a piece of furniture or an appliance to the living space they’re familiar with. To minimize the impact of these additions on them, make sure their paths are obstacle-free. Here is some information on living with a dog with vision loss, provided by the American Kennel Club.

4. Take care of their diet
Maintain a healthy diet and use supplements that will help them with any health conditions they have. Some popular dog supplements include glucosamine, fish oil, and multivitamins. Glucosamine is considered to be a treatment for arthritis. The supplement is frequently combined with chondroitin for treating arthritic dogs, according to Whole-dog-journal.

In cats and dogs, fish oil is popular for treating skin allergies and arthritis, according to an article published on Sciencebasedmedicine.org. Consult a veterinary doctor for more information about the right supplements and dosage for your dog.

5. Keep your home environment warm and quiet
Like us, a drop in temperature can be challenging for older dogs. To keep things comfortable, make sure the temperature stays constant throughout the year. Get routine maintenance done on the HVAC system and consider investing in a smart thermostat.

Older dogs may get tired more often, so they may need to nap more often. Make sure that the home is quiet during the day as well as night so they can easily catch up on sleep when they want. Consider fixing any noisy appliances that may affect their sleep.

6. Keep their senses active with games
Keep your dog active with some fun games. Hide treats around the house and ask them to sniff them out. Take them with you for a swim. If they are comfortable with it, play fetch with them. Of course, you’ll need to make some adjustments for their weaker reflexes and senses, but they may still enjoy these activities with you.

7. Don’t take them to unfamiliar places
Although dogs like to socialize, unfamiliar people and places can make older dogs more anxious. Spend more time in places they know and feel secure in.

8. Visit the vet regularly
Visit the vet more frequently so they can give your dog a thorough examination and catch any potential health issues early.

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