Have you ever heard the story about the child who had a theory on why dogs don’t live long? Basically, the child told an adult, “People are born to learn how to live a good life — dogs already do that, so that is why they don’t live long”.
It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
It is true, that dogs already live a good life. They bring strength to us when we are weak, comfort to us when we are lonely, and joy to us when we are sad. But we still, selfishly, want them to be with us longer.
So, what can we do to care for our aging champions. Our senior pets. Here are a few suggestions:
- Start a New Low-Impact Activity. If you have a Border Collie (like I do) or another herding breed, you can start herding. Stick to ducks or sheep, not cattle. Herding is a great way to keep a senior herding dog active mentally and physically with low-impact. Don’t have a herding breed? That’s okay! There are plenty of other low-impact activities your senior dog can enjoy such as hiking (choose simple trails), swimming, walking, and more!
- Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks. A big part of keeping a dog happy is mental activity…especially if physical activity has been reduced due to age or injury. There are so many wonderful dog-tricks out there! Grab a book like Kyra Sundance’s 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog, and get started!
- Give Dietary Supplements. Even if you feed the best food, having a senior pet means needing to add in some extra supplementation for optimal nutrition. Glucosamine, chondrotin, and omegas (oils) are some of my favorites. Check out Glyco-Flex III Soft-Chews for Dogs, 120-Count for a great source of joint supplementation for senior pets.
- Spoil Them. Don’t worry about a few extra pounds (that’s a good “safety” for any unexpected senior illness). Take them with you if you’re running a dog-friendly errand. Stop by Dairy Queen every now and then for a Pup Cup. Time is precious…don’t put it off until tomorrow.
There are many other ways to care for an aging dog. These are just a few of my favorites. How do you care for your senior pets?
For more posts on aging, check out Dog Agility Blog Events – Aging.