Your dog has been your best friend for life. But recently, he’s been slowing down and getting gray around the muzzle. Old age can be a wonderful time in a dog’s life- a time to stop and smell the flowers, to snuggle, to nap, and just to enjoy each other. But, as we all know, old age often brings some complications. Your dog may need some extra care as they age. Here are the six ways to aid your aging senior dog and products to help you out.
Waterproof couch covers for leaky bladders
Okay, this one’s more for you than for your dog, but I couldn’t live without them. Pets of all ages can be… wet. They slobber, they lick, they leave soggy toys around, they roll around like maniacs after getting a bath or a swim or getting two or more raindrops on them, and they barf and then eat it and then barf it back up. And, especially as they get older, they can start to have less physical control over their own bladders.
Of course we all care more about our pets than our furniture, but why not have it both ways? Couch covers such as this one are waterproof, machine washable, and can save you a lot of work and frustration if you’ve got a leaky pup.
Slings for hip problems
One of the toughest parts of aging is that, for some dogs, it starts to become harder to get around. They may need help getting up off the floor, getting up and down stairs, or getting up and down off the couch or their dog bed or the car. With a small dog, most owners will solve these problems by just picking them up, but that doesn’t necessarily work if, say, your dog is a rottweiler mix.
In that case, a sling can help enormously. This is one you don’t necessarily have to buy, although they are available if you prefer to. A folded-up towel or smallish blanket can usually do the trick. If you want handles, it’s a simple DIY- just cut the sides out of a reusable grocery bag and voila! Instant sling!
Crib mattress as a dog bed
Orthopedic dog beds sure are nice, but they can really be a pain to clean, especially if you have a larger dog.
If your dog is leaky, prone to puking, or otherwise tends to be messy, consider using a baby mattress. They tend to be pretty cheap if you buy one used and you can get fitted waterproof covers, which are designed to protect against just this type of mess. They’re a good height for an old dog and firm enough that it doesn’t make it harder for them to get up. And, since they’re a pretty standardized size, you can get adorable fitted sheets so that your pup can snooze in style.
Ramps & Stairs
While a sling is a good option for a short boost, sometimes you need an option that gives your dog a little more independence.
For small dogs or dogs who have some trouble getting up on the couch, onto your bed, or into the car, try a set of dog stairs! There are loads of options– carpeted, cushioned, foldable, stylish- whatever floats your boat and may work best for your dog! For some dogs, it takes some time to figure out how to use dog stairs and learn to trust them, so be prepared for a little training.
For getting in and out of cars or for dog who can no longer manage stairs, ramps are a popular option as well. These can be on the pricey side if you buy them new, so it’s worth looking for secondhand options.
Extra potty breaks
I sometimes think my elderly dog has a portal to another dimension in her colon. It’s the only way to explain how she can manage to poop like a grown man approximately 273 times a day.
Whether she can hold it for a full 8.5 hours on any given day is a crapshoot. Er… no pun intended.
If you can’t take your dog along to work with you or run home at lunchtime to let them out, then that’s where we come in! 4-Legged-Kids can stop by and let your dog out or take them on a walk during the day so that they don’t have to spend the last few hours with their legs crossed. Out of all the six ways to aid your aging senior dog, this one is probably the most impactful.
Allowing your senior dog a mid-day potty break is about more than just avoiding messes. It’s also about avoiding physical discomfort and mental distress. Dogs who have been housebroken most of their lives don’t generally want to pee inside and to have an accident because they physically couldn’t hold it anymore is upsetting. Check out our services page for more on booking a dog walk.
If you have hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors, an old dog may have trouble keeping their footing on the slick surfaces. They may slide around when they get excited, when they’re trying to stand up from a lying-down position, or just when they’re sitting or standing there.
But does a nice area rug seem like a great idea for a dog who may also have decreased bladder or bowel control? Maybe not.
One option may be a series of smaller rubber-backed rugs rather than large area rugs. The rubber backing keeps the rugs from sliding around when your dog tries to use them to stand and the smaller size makes them easier to toss in the washing machine if they get soiled.
Ruggable and other companies feature rugs of all sizes that are made to be machine washable. They’re a little bit on the pricey side, but worth it if you don’t want to sacrifice style.
Taking care of an old dog can be messy, difficult, and frustrating at times. It can mean making changes in your life to adapt to their needs. But this is when they need you most. You are your dog’s whole world and they are your best friend. Shower them with love and care until the end.
Whether it’s to get the crazies out of your young’un or a mosey-and-sniff with your senior, all dogs benefit from the chance to get out and go for a walk! And we’re here to make that happen. Book a potty walk or an exercise walk- whatever your pet needs! Visit our services page for more options.
Janie founded 4-Legged Kids, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997 and provides education through her PetBizHIVE podcast and her PetBizMBA membership and courses. She is a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, Fear Free certified and a Certified Professional Pet Sitter. Learn more about the Founder, Janie Budnick.