Are you looking after an elderly dog? Pets are a big part of our lives here at Cosy Home – after all, they’re part of what goes to make a home cosy! They’re vital members of the family, and share in all our ups and downs. As our pet pooches age, their needs can change too. They may become either more or less sociable and require changes in diet and exercise. We’ve put together some tips on looking after an elderly dog and keeping them happy and comfortable in the home.
Looking after an elderly dog: the right bed
While young dogs tend to drop down anywhere they feel like it, sprawling on tiled and carpeted floors, older dogs will appreciate a little comfort. As your pooch ages, he may well appreciate a quieter life and having somewhere to retreat to for a rest, particularly if the house is busy. If he’s getting a little stiffer and struggles more to get up, it’s well worth considering a bed with an orthopaedic mattress to support elderly joints.
We like the new Anti-Microbial Memory Foam Dog Bed from Charley Chau, engineered with a single memory foam layer bonded to a layer of support foam to minimise the risk of pressure points. It’s made from a solid piece of foam rather than foam chips, so it won’t go lumpy over time, and comes with an anti-microbial mattress protector made with the same fabric used to protect hospital beds. you can even add separate mini bolster pads for extra comfort, perfect for pensionable pooches. Mattress prices start at £120 from Charley Chau, separate pads from £19.50 each.
Looking after an elderly dog: getting their diet right
Your dog’s nutritional needs actually start to change from the age of seven, which is not what most of us would think of as elderly! If he’s on adult food, consider changing him to a senior diet. It’s important for your pooch to have regular dentals throughout his life to keep his teeth in tiptop shape. If he starts to have difficulty chewing or you notice digestive problems, it could be time to change his diet completely – your vet is the best person to advise. Older dogs may need to drink more water, so take care there’s a supply available 24/7 – putting down more than one bowl means you’re less likely to run out.
China ‘Hound Dog’ bowl by Sweet William, prices start at £20.95.
Exercise for an elderly dog
Just because he’s a more mature mutt, it doesn’t mean that your dog won’t still love walk time. When you’re caring for an elderly dog, you may have to adapt your route slightly to take in flatter paths and shorter walks. Swimming can be a great exercise as it puts less strain on joints. If he’s always been a sociable sort of chap, your dog will probably still love going to popular parks where he can hang out with his mates. Look out for him getting frustrated with energetic puppies, or being the subject of too much rough play from other dogs though.
Forest green rope lead, Sophie Allport. Available in three sizes, prices start at £11.50.
The ideal temperature for an elderly dog
Just as with older humans, elderly dogs can be more susceptible to extremes of temperature. In colder weather, they may be grateful for a cosy dog coat. If they get wet after a walk, it’s important to dry them off quickly before they can catch a chill. Keep a careful eye on them in summer, too. Don’t let them lie out in direct sunlight, keep them chilled with a special cool coat and offer a wet towel or cooling mat to lie on.
Design Collection drying coat, Ruff & Tumble. Available in a wide range of sizes, prices start at £52.95.
What most elderly dogs appreciate most is the chance to just spend some time with you, so make that an excuse to spend lots of time at home this year.
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