Being a senior dog parent is an important job. All dogs get old, usually much sooner than we’d like, and as they age their needs can change. If you don’t realize that your dogs needs are changing, they may become uncomfortable and unhappy at home, and this can lead to all kinds of other problems.
Making your senior dog as happy and as comfortable as possible is imperative if you’re going to make their remaining years with you memorable. Here, we’re going to discuss 16 things your senior dog wishes they could tell you.
- They Still Want To Enjoy Life
Just because your dog is old doesn’t mean they don’t want to enjoy life with you anymore. They might stay in their bed longer than they used to because they have less energy, but make an effort to have some fun with them from time to time. Play with them, see if they’d like a new toy, and take them out with family and friends like you used to (but be patient with them). Don’t leave them behind!
- They Still Want To Get Some Exercise
Senior dogs still want to get some exercise. They’ll need it too, because their metabolism can slow down and they can easily gain weight. Don’t assume that all they want to do is sleep because they don’t badger you to take them out like they used to. Chances are if you show them their lead, they will wag their tails and get excited to go out like they used to. It might just take them a little longer to get up and get going. You can look at dog park advice and tips so you can take your senior dog to exciting new locations. Sometimes though, a shorter walk will be best for them.
- They May Not Be Able To See Or Hear You As Well
Your dog isn’t being ignorant. As they get older, they tend to lose their senses a little, and this means not being able to see or hear you as well as before. Be patient with them. Try using hand signals if you can, as they will be easier for them to understand if they are struggling with audio cues.
- They Might Need Different Food
Your dogs needs might change as they get older in terms of food. They may develop a more sensitive tummy, stop liking their old food for no good reason, or simply need a food that fills them up more to stop them wanting to snack. Look into foods for senior dogs that will help them to stay healthy.
- They Might Be In Pain
Your senior dog is likely in pain sometimes. If they take a while getting out of bed, struggle to go up and down the stairs like before, and want to turn around half way around your walk, it’s a sign their joints are creaking and they’re just not feeling too good. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go to the vet, or that they shouldn’t go on that walk. It just means you have to be patient with them and keep a close eye on them.
- They Feel The Cold More Than Before
Senior dogs struggle to regulate their temperature like younger dogs do. This means they feel the cold more. You might notice them shivering. Make sure the room they sleep in is warm enough for them. You might also want to get them a jumper they can wear in the house (no silly costumes), a fleece blanket, or a heated mat for their bed. Just make sure they don’t get too hot, as this can be bad for them too.
- They Rely On Your To Make Sure Their Needs Are Met
It’s up to you to make sure your senior dog’s needs are met. They are counting on you to help them and make their lives as comfortable as possible. It can be all too easy to get distracted with things like work, kids, and your social life, but please don’t neglect them. Pay close attention to them and make sure you’re doing all you can to make them happy and keep them comfortable.
- Their World Revolves Around You
Think about it. You probably have a job that you go to, work friends that you see. You have other friends and family. Every day you probably visit a number of different places to complete chores and tasks. It might seem mundane to you, but think about your dog. They see the same faces and the same 4 walls day in, day out. Their entire world revolves around you. They may just be one part of your life, but you are quite literally all they have.
- They Need Some Personal Space Occasionally
Your dog may have been a snuggle monster in their youth, but senior dogs tend to like a little more personal space than younger dogs. They know you care, and they really appreciate it, but allow them some time to sleep and nap undisturbed from time to time. They will appreciate it, and they’ll no doubt let you know when they are ready for your attention again!
- They Might Become Confused
Senior dogs get confused easier than younger dogs. They might fall over, run into things, and even forget where their bowl is. Dementia in dogs is a thing, unfortunately, although it might simply be their senses failing them. Be extra patient with them, especially if they have an accident in the house. They are trying their best, and it upsets them too that they aren’t as young as they used to be.
- They Might Become More Anxious Now
You might notice your dog become more anxious and frightened of things like loud noises and things they haven’t seen before. For example, if something unusual pops up on your usual walk route, they might not want to go that way. If somebody knocks on the door, they might feel startled and end up being extra aggressive. They may also think they are alerting you to danger, so be kind to them. Calm them down gently.
- They Still Need To Be Groomed
Your dog is getting older, but that doesn’t mean they have to look unkempt. Keeping them well groomed is healthy and will make them happier, providing you either know exactly what you’re doing or you take them to a reputable groomer. Make sure their fur is neat and that their nails aren’t too long. Older dogs tend to smell a little more than younger dogs, too, so a special scented spray that is kind to their skin can work, but don’t neglect to bath them either.
- They Like To Be Comforted Sometimes
If your dog is feeling particularly scared and anxious, there are ways you can comfort them. Relaxing music sometimes works, and even a thunder t shirt could help. Alternatively you could invite them on the couch with you, or wrap them in a blanket. Every dog is different, so pay attention to how yours likes to be comforted.
- They Don’t Like To Be Rushed
Please don’t rush your senior dog. If you want to take them for a walk or they haven’t got out of bed to even sniff their dinner, don’t get cross with them or shout. Gently coaxing them should encourage them to get out of bed. Remember, they may be in pain, their joints may be aching, and they might just need a little extra time to prepare themselves.
However, bear in mind that if you don’t encourage them, there’s every chance they just won’t bother and stay in their beds. You might assume that this is what they want, when really, some gentle encouragement from you will go a long way. You’ll get a vibe from your dog usually. You should notice when they want to get up but are struggling, and when they really don’t want to get out of bed at all. Senior dogs who don’t want to get up may let you know by crying, low growling, shivering, or having their fur stand on end. Again, it’s important to be patient and understanding. Use your common sense to decide whether they should be left alone.
- Their Problems Aren’t Always Just Down To Their Age
Don’t assume that just because your dog is a senior dog, every single issue they have is down to their age. In some cases, it could be something else entirely, and dealing with it promptly could mean being able to enjoy and love your fur baby for longer. If you’re ever concerned about something, it’s always better to visit a vet. It might be expensive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- They Don’t Want To Be Alone
Nobody likes to think about a time when their dog won’t be there anymore, but it will come. Please just remember, if it ever comes down to you making a difficult decision on their behalf, they don’t want to be alone. It will be very hard for you to stay with them, of course, but this is one last sacrifice for them. Your dog will be forever grateful that you were there by their side – you really are their whole world.