As your dog ages, your feeding, grooming & maintenance routines are bound to change. Supplements will be added, vets may be visited more regularly, and creating comfort for them is the ultimate goal.
We’ve been extremely lucky with Bear thus far. He’s got limited arthritis, perhaps a titch of hearing loss, stiffness in the morning, a few fatty lumps, and an ocular dermoid, none of which affect him much. For 11, he’s going strong, and feeling good. We couldn’t be happier. Still, we make adjustments to encourage him to age slowly. One of those adjustments has been in his bath routine.
Younger Bear would pop over the edge of the tub and await his bath-time doom. (Ok, he doesn’t hate it that much, but his bath time is full of stoic looks and sighs) I don’t really want him attempting that move anymore, because a slip or jump in the wrong direction could leave him in pain.
1. Our new apartment has a shower stall with rolling glass doors, so we opt to bathe him in there now. He can avoid stepping up into the tub, and the doors fully close keeping him nicely contained if I need to run for a few extra towels.
2. Add a towel or rubber shower mat to the tub floor. This increases your seniors grip and traction on the floor, you’ll have a much happier dog if he feels like he can stand comfortably. (Puppies and adult dogs will undoubtedly appreciate this too)
3. Using a conditioner has become an important change in our grooming routine. We always brush both dogs before bathing (use a furminator for Bear) to pull all the loose hairs out. Dogs tend to loose coat condition as they age, along with adding oils and supplements to his food, conditioning his coat has gone a long ways towards maintaining overall good coat condition. We like this stuff.
We also like to round out Bear’s bath with a few other little maintenance things. Call it his spa day
*We always brush his teeth on bath day, and try to do it often in between baths as well! We use and love this set from amazon because it works well for both dogs.
*He’s also got this special foot cream that we rub into the pads on his paws. They tend to get dried out and this keeps them nice and supple. I’ve had the same jar for going on 5 years now, so it’s a great investment. This one smells faintly minty and is quite creamy- does a good job! Our isn’t available online, but this one is similar.
*We’ll check the toenails. I rarely need to clip them because we walk on pavement enough, but this is as good of time as any to ensure they’re in tip top shape as well. Here’s a tutorial on clipping black nails if you’re scared/unfamiliar.
*A spritz of puppy cologne, like our favorite natural Maqnifiscent grooming spray is a great way to finish things off.
Below is a great infographic from BlogPaws with more info on senior pets:
I absolutely adore senior dogs! They just rock! How many of you have and love senior pets?
Someday hubby and I hope to rescue lots of senior dogs from shelters and let them live out the rest of their days (however long that may be) knowing they’re safe and loved. When I’ve mentioned this before, many people tell me ‘it’s too sad’ for them, but really, what’s sadder than an old dog dying alone in a shelter? To me, that’s the saddest fate, and if I can make a difference in their remaining days, that’s the entire point.