Its been of late and especially on my recent family holiday that I noticed my own dog Bailey is getting older and showing signs of slowing down as he can no longer can jump into the back of my truck so he now has a pet ramp or even has the endurance he used to on those longer walks and has he has even become more stubborn and grumpy. So I have some helpful hints on how to handle the behavioural changes in your senior dog and what you can do to help them.
1. Eyesight – The eyesight will gradually get worse, so ensure your dog can understand all the spoken commands now before it’s too late. Make sure your “come” command is flawless and your walking on the lead is perfect.
2. Hearing – Make sure that all your verbal commands also have hand cues to guide your dog so if the eyesight does go out first, it will be more relaxed.
3. Movement – Your dog may get stiff but make sure you still take them for walks. Just like the old saying goes “What you don’t use, you lose”. If there is any pain, have it checked out by your vet rather than let them walk with pain. If they loose mobility it is a great responsibilty and is not for everybody but there are carts, wheelchairs and other aids available to help with mobility problems as most time the mind and the rest of the body works just fine and gives just as much love.
4. Routines – Many older dogs are used to routine and find it hard to cope with change. If you need to change your routine do it slowly. Stick to the same kennels and people who look after them rather than change often.
5. Feeding – The diet will change to a senior diet so expect them not to exude as much energy and not eat quite as fast. It’s completely normal.
6. Tolerance – Your dog has coped for years with annoying little puppies and children jumping on its face. But when it’s old it may not be able to tolerate it as much, so step in and move the puppy or children on. Your old dog was once a puppy, so don’t yell at the owner or parent, just give the puppy or the child a bit of understanding.
I hope this has helped you understand some of the changes your do may or is going through as they mature.
Take care of older dogs and enjoy their company – they’ll soon leave a huge hole in your heart.
Please share your experiences with your life companion.