In-Home Consultations May Help with Making Lifestyle Changes for Aging Dogs
There might be times when dog owners are overheard saying that they cannot wait until their dog slows down a little, for want of a better expression, in terms of its energy level, its inquisitiveness, and an overall need for attention. This can be particularly true during the puppy stage and/or for breeds that are, by and large, more active by nature.
However, as time progresses, these same owners can be heard lamenting that their dogs have aged, have indeed slowed down, and cannot maintain the pace they once did when they were puppies; many owners may even wish that they could turn back the clock to those earlier years – for the benefit of the dog and perhaps a little bit of selfishness, too.
Unfortunately, time marches on for dogs, just as it does for their owners, with one rather significant difference – dogs do not have the self-realization that they are getting older and therefore may not necessarily compensate for the onset/effect of such conditions as:
- Weight gain
- Muscle and joint pain
- Diet or digestive issues
- Changes in eyesight/hearing
As a result, it is incumbent upon a dog owner to recognize and respect the fact that their pet is aging, and to implement some lifestyle changes/adjustments that will help make the dog more comfortable in its senior years and perhaps even live longer. Following are several steps that an owner should consider to help their dog in its later stages of life:
- Diet – choose food that has fewer calories and is easier to chew and digest
- Exercise – continue, but modify the length and/or number of walks per day
- Grooming – trim nails often, clean teeth; keep fur in genital area neat/clean
- Massaging – light pressure on shoulders/hip joints to ease tension in muscles
- Bedding – provide a thicker, softer bed/cushion that is also lower-to-the-floor
- Heights – build or purchase a ramp to assist with stairs and access to the car
- Safety/Protection – place non-skid area rugs/carpeting over slippery flooring
- Patience – older dogs may take longer to move about/respond to commands
While any/all of the above will undoubtedly be beneficial to an aging/older dog, they are presented here as general suggestions/examples to help stimulate the thought process for the owners of these dogs. For those owners who are currently or will be facing such situations with their dog, it is recommended that they consult with a professional dog trainer on the specific approaches that may work best for their respective pet.
To that end, an Alpha Paws trainer would be pleased to provide an in-home consultation to assess the dog in its own environment, and recommend any lifestyle changes and/or dog training programs or classes that might prove beneficial for the dog and its owners.
Consult a Professional Trainer if an Aging Dog Exhibits Changes in Behaviour
As dogs age, they may begin to exhibit changes in their behaviour, notably in relation to greater irritability and/or a lack of response to basic commands. When owners recognize such signs, they should not be ignored nor minimized as just a part of the aging process. They may in fact be due to:
- Physical changes – eye health; hearing loss
- A decrease in tolerance for noise or activity
In such cases, a trainer from Alpha Paws can perform an in-home consultation to assess the situation and recommend any potential training or strategies that can help make the dog more comfortable and happier in its later years of life.
Implementing some lifestyle changes for your dog can help make its life easier and more comfortable in its senior years. Call the dog training professionals at Alpha Paws today at 1-877-868-PAWS (5248) to request an in-home consultation for you and your dog.