6 Ways to Comfort Your Senior Dog

My Labrador, Sanchez, just celebrated his 12th birthday. While I am very blessed that he is in very good health, it is not unusual for senior dogs to lose memory, eyesight and experience hearing loss. It is also common for senior dogs to experience some changes in behavior as they mature. Some of Sanchez’s behaviors remind me of his puppy years, such as chewing tissues from the bathroom waste basket. But, his resource guarding and separation anxiety developed later in life. I have heard from many people with senior dogs that get restless and agitated at night-time, yet calmly sleep all day.

What can you do to provide comfort for your senior dog as she matures?

Time For Dogs

1. Time
Spend time with them doing what they enjoy, whether that’s cuddling on the sofa or long, slow walks in nature. They may not need the amount of exercise they had as a youngster, but they still need the same amount of quality time shared together. Sadly, they may not have an abundance of time left. Make every moment count.

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2. Patience
Dogs, like people, move slower with age. Don’t rush them. They like to take more time to stop and smell the roses, and everything else in their path. Allow them this time. It’s a good reminder for you too that every moment is precious.

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3. Keep Training
Dogs love to learn, and you actually can teach an old dog new tricks. I still spend time training every night with Sanchez. If it gets late, he starts whining and begging for his training time with me. The bonding time is precious and it stimulates him to keep learning and being challenged. He has no complaints about his rewards either.

4. Adjust Her Food
Many senior dogs get less exercise as they mature and their diet needs to adjust. I have Labradors, and they would eat as much food as I put in front of them. But, food portions should generally be reduced as dogs age to accommodate their slowed down life style.

ramp

5. Provide Physical Assistance
Sanchez still goes almost everywhere with me. But, now I carry a ramp to help him get in and out of the car. I’ve been doing this since he was diagnosed with a slipped disc in his neck at age nine. But, I’d recommend it for most senior dogs that are too large to be lifted out of the car. Their joints will thank you for it.

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5. Sound Therapy
Most senior dogs don’t have the same tolerance for noise that they used to in their youth. The immune system of a senior dog is often heavily taxed. A natural reaction is to self-limit the amount of auditory or visual stimulation coming into the system. That is why senior dogs will often shut down in overstimulating sound environments. The nutrients of sound are needed the most when life energy is at a low ebb or when neuro-developmental (including sensory) issues are present. Sound therapy can often help facilitate maximum sound intake while conserving energy output. It also has helped senior dogs with separation anxiety and night-time restlessness.

What has brought comfort to your senior dogs in their later years? Thanks for adding your experiences in a comment below.

Related
Is This My Pet’s Last Birthday?
Are Senior Dogs More Sound Sensitive?

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97 comments

William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you for caring.

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Debra Tate
Debra Tateabout a year ago

Thanks for these wonderful tips.

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susan a
susan a1 years ago

TT Therapy and gentle massage every evening , plus a wonderful' Tuffie's' supportive bed were a great comfort to my wonderful Deerhound/Lurcher Harry,I sadly lost him recently and think about him every day.

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Meenakshi G
Meenakshi G.1 years ago

Thanks I have a dog Mr honey a Tibetan spaniel who is now 15. He has slowed down can't climb stairs ,so we pick him up. Thanks ramp is a great idea.

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Karin Geens
Karin Geens2 years ago

Thanks

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Justyna L.
Justyna L2 years ago

Tyfs

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Wendi M.
Wendi M2 years ago

TYFS

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Joe Le Gris
Joe Legris2 years ago

Thanks

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

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