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Pampering Your Dog in Her Senior Years

Pampering Your Dog in Her Senior Years

By Mary Jane Gallagher

A dog is considered to be a ‘senior’ if he is nine to 12 (for small dogs), seven to 10 (for medium-sized dogs), or five to eight (for very large or giant dogs). Usually, signs that your pooch is entering this time of her life include the appearance of white hair around the eyebrows and eye area, a reduction in energy and activity levels, and longer periods of sleep. If you are one of the vast majority of pet owners who consider their pets to be family, then you have probably already dreamed up a few ways to make their winter years extra cozy. Here are a few more ideas in case you are up for more inspiration.

Choosing an Orthopedic Bed

As is the case with human beings, mature dogs can have painful joints and therefore require a more comfortable and supportive bed. Orthopedic beds for older dogs contain features like memory foam and lower edges, so your pooch finds it easy to get in and out. Beds should also ideally come with a waterproof liner, so you can easily keep their bed smelling fresh and clean. If you live in a cold area, go for a bed with an attached blanket. Many dogs love burrowing beneath a blanket; it makes them feel as if they were in their very own, safe cave.

Creating a Dog-Friendly Garden

Young, healthy dogs often require a couple of long walks a day, and parks are ideal for this purpose. However, some mature dogs can have chronic diseases that make it difficult for them to do more than a few minutes of exercise a day. If you have a yard, invest in pet safe landscaping so that your dog can enjoy a little exercise without getting too tired or hot. When planning your garden and buying plants, avoid all species that can be toxic to dogs. These include daffodils, tulips, autumn crocus bulbs, and English ivy. The list of dog-safe plants is vast. It includes African violets, bromeliads, button fern, Chinese money plant, staghorn ferns and string of turtles. Your garden should also be escape-free. Some dogs love digging; if this is your pooch’s case, attach an L-footer along the bottom of the fence, facing inwards. You can also pour a concrete footer along the perimeter of the fence, burying the bottom of the fence into the concrete.

Maintaining Your Dog’s Oral Health

Dogs can lose teeth just like humans can—through neglect. Think of your dog as a small child that needs help with brushing every day. Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs, and gently brush their teeth after meals. You can also try dental treats to help get rid of plaque. One of the most beneficial things you can do for your canine friend is to take her to the dentist once a year for a professional clean

Senior dogs need many things that younger ones do—age-appropriate food and exercise, medical attention, and loving affection. However, they have a few additional needs, including comfortable, orthopedic bedding, and extra oral care. Dogs that cannot walk for long distances because of heart or other conditions should ideally have a safe garden in which to play and indulge their sense of smell. For dogs of all ages, nothing could be more pleasurable than rolling in the grass!