Three Ways to Help Your Aging Dog
As dogs grow older, caring for them requires some different practices and products.
Research shows that dog ownership is linked to better physical and mental health. That is one thing that makes dogs so special. As they get older—and it happens way too quickly— they can experience many of the same health problems that older people do. Stiff joints and other limitations sometimes make it difficult to go about their normal routine. Fortunately, there are a number of things dog owners can do to ensure their pooch lives the longest, healthiest life possible.
Aging dogs frequently experience joint stiffness that can get so severe they have difficulty even lying down and getting up. The hips are the most frequent culprit, although stiffness in shoulders and elbows is common too. Thankfully, joint supplements are available that can greatly help alleviate joint pain and stiffness, enabling dogs to live a fuller life in their golden years. According to veterinarians, the two most important things to look for in a supplement are chondroitin and glucosamine. Note that these two ingredients are most effective when used together, so don’t settle for a supplement that just contains one or the other. When choosing a joint supplement, look for a chewable one in a flavor your dog will eat readily. That will make giving the supplement much easier.
Even taking joint supplements, many aging dogs can’t get around like they did when they were younger. Consequently, some of their favorite hangouts—like the couch or the foot of your bed—are largely inaccessible. Doggie steps provide the solution to that problem. Look for sturdy steps that will hold well more than your dog’s weight, but that are light enough to move easily from room to room. Old dogs still like to go for the occasional ride, too, but often find it hard to get into and out of a vehicle. Fortunately, many companies make dog ramps—some even extendable—that will allow your dog to get in and out of your vehicle without hurting himself. Like with doggie steps, sturdiness and portability are important factors to consider.
When dogs lie still for an extended period of time—which old dogs typically do quite often—they get stiff and sometimes have difficulty getting back up. You can help with that problem by getting your aging dog an orthopedic dog bed. These orthopedic beds differ from regular dog beds in that they provide a supportive for place for your dog to rest, protecting against issues like joint discomfort, arthritis and even hip dysplasia in the long run. Most are made of memory foam, which ensures equal support of all pressure points. Other advantages of orthopedic dog beds include better sleep for your pooch and increased blood flow while sleeping. Look for a bed with a removable cover for easier cleaning and maintenance.