We love our dogs more and more every day, so by the time they’re seniors, the bond is truly irreplaceable. We want to make sure they’re as happy and healthy as possible throughout their lives, and as they transition into becoming seniors, there are a few specific things we can do to make life easier on them.
We had Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, CTCVMP, weigh in on the subject. Also known as “The Caring Vet,” Dr. Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT) who uses principles from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to treat his patients.
Below are Dr. Selmer’s suggestions for 6 things pet parents should do to make life easier on their senior dogs.
In the words of Dr. Selmer:
1. Make regular appointments with your veterinarian
If your dog is over 6 years old he/she should be examined by a veterinarian at least every 6 months. The idea is to hopefully catch something before it makes your dog sick.
I typically recommend that the following be completed twice a year :
- A complete examination, from tip of the nose to the end of the tail
- Blood tests including a blood chemistry and a complete blood count
- A urinalysis
- A complete nutritional analysis
- Fecal testing for parasites
2. Better bedding
Why not make his/her places to relax more comfortable?
…but less intensity! The law of physics states: things in motion stay in motion. Movement helps lubricate joints and maintain muscle mass. We want to keep your senior dog moving.
4. Handicap accessibility
If your aging dog likes to sleep on the couch or bed, why make him jump? You can purchase or build a ramp or steps to make it easier on them. Guess what? They have them for the car as well.
5. Safety considerations
If you live in a house with slippery surfaces (ie, hardwood floors, tile floors, etc.), a slip and fall can be just as much a [safety] hazard for your aging dog as it is for us. I love ToeGrips to help prevent slips and falls. They are just little, pre-made, rubber or silicon slip-on nail covers. Easy peasy.
6. Elevate the food bowls
Raising stands to hold food bowls will make it easier for your aging dog to eat and swallow food.
If you want to learn more about taking a holistic approach to your pet’s healthcare, check out his book The Best of Both Worlds: An Advanced Guide to Integrative Veterinary Care for Happier, Healthier Pups. You can also follow him on Facebook.