Sometimes it's the gray hairs on his head and other times it's noticing he didn't quite land that jump, but eventually you notice that your dog is just getting older. You come to realize that in order to keep going strong in his golden years, he may need some additional accessories. The lists are all over the internet for when you first get a puppy, but the lists of what to get for an aging dog are few and far between. The great news is that the list isn't long and a few simple items can make a world of difference for a dog that is getting old.
Signs to Look For
Since all dogs may not need the same items as they age, the first step in helping your aging dog is paying close attention to the common and uncommon signs of aging.
Common signs that your dog is getting older are usually the obvious ones — gaining weight, slowing down, not hearing as well, not seeing as well or trouble getting up. However, many people don't realize that bad breath, frequent accidents, lumps and coat changes may also be indications that your dog has reached senior status.
When it comes to aging dogs, age is truly just a number. Since all breeds are so different, some dogs show signs of aging as early as six years old and others show no signs until after age ten, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. This is why pet parents should be closely watching and realizing when their dog's behavior and motions change. Aging can come on suddenly or gradually.
Old Dog Accessories
For dogs just starting to show signs of aging, dog stairs or ramps for getting in and out of the car, and up and down on beds and sofas are a great accessory to have. By using these early on in the aging process, you may ease the wear on his joints. If you choose to purchase something like a dog ramp to help him get in and out of bed, make sure to train him to use it first. This will help him understand its purpose and help avoid him getting hurt my misusing it.
It's also a good idea to keep the house and outside well lit and stay closer to your dog to guide him as his vision may not be as sharp as it once was and may lead to stumbling.
Here is a list of other old dog accessories you may want to consider for your pup as he ages:
- Orthopedic dog bed — to minimize impact on aging muscles and bones
- Waterproof dog bed cover (for easier cleanup, just in case). Kidney issues should certainly be consulted by their veterinarian.
- Puppy training pads kept near doors and pet beds, in case your dog starts having accidents
- Rubber mats or rugs for areas of the house that might have a slick floor
Night lights throughout the home to help a dog with aging eyes navigate the house in the dark
- Shorter leash to help keep your dog closer to you
- Paw protection (ointment and/or special gripping socks)
Acquiring a few of these accessories as your dog ages may allow you and your dog to enjoy his golden years. Although your adventures may be a little less rowdy or shorter in duration, you and your canine companion can still enjoy life to the fullest. Every stage of a dog's life comes with a mix of fun and struggles, but one thing is always true — he's your best friend and loves every moment you enjoy together!
Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.