All Things Dog

The Joys Of Owning An Older Dog

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Whether you had him from the time he was a pup or if you adopted him as an adult, there are so many reasons to appreciate your older dog—and many ways you can demonstrate your appreciation.

Everyone loves a puppy—but you have to admit that they can be pretty demanding. The housetraining, the teething and the constant need for attention can take up a lot of time and energy.

Older dogs, on the other hand, let you get a good night's sleep because they've become accustomed to your schedule. They don't need nighttime feedings or comforting. You can make sure your older dog gets a good night sleep, too, by ensuring his bed is soft, warm and dry. Old dogs spend more time lying down which can lead to calluses on pressure points such as his elbows and hocks. To make your dog's bed extra warm and cozy, add a fleecy blanket. The bed should also have raised edging to protect him from draughts and chills.

While young dogs are anxious to check out everything that moves (or doesn't move), older dogs are content to just be. They aren't in a hurry to sniff every single tree or chase after every leaf that flies by. They stroll along happily at your side without trying to take you for a walk or rip the leash out of your hand.

When you do take your dog for a walk, be careful to consider your pace and distance. An older dog's joints may not be able to keep up with yours. Whenever possible, walk on grass instead pavement as the grass cushions older joints. And be sure to keep an eye out for signs of fatigue—a drooping head and tail, for example, may indicate weariness.

One thing to remember—older dogs often get so involved in a fun activity that they don't realize when they're over exerting themselves. It's up to you to set the limits.

Older dogs love to be loved

Older dogs love nothing more than to bask in your attention. They have no problem sitting at your feet for hours at a time or just curling up beside you enjoying the pleasure of your company.

One way you can bond with your dog and show him how much you appreciate him is through your regular grooming sessions. If you aren't already doing so, start incorporating massage into your grooming routine. Massage not only helps soothe sore joints and muscles, it also stimulates circulation which is helpful for dogs who don't get as much exercise as they used to. In addition, massages provide the opportunity to routinely check for lumps and bumps that may need to be investigated.Check with your vet or a professional animal massage therapist on the best way to include massage into your dog’s routine.

By the way, your dog isn't the only one who benefits from this quality time. Studies have shown that people with dogs are more likely to accept change, are more likely to deal with stress and have fewer contacts with their doctor. It was also found that pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and have a better psychological well being than non-dog owners.

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