Your dog may be full of vim and vigor, bouncing up and down when you come home from work and rushing to the door to go on a walk every time you pick up your keys. But if he’s between the ages of 5 and 10, he might actually be a senior.
Dogs reach their senior years at different times, depending on their breed and size. Larger dogs have shorter lifespans, so a 5-year-old Great Dane is a senior. A Pomeranian, on the other hand, can live to be 16 or more, and so doesn’t become a senior until around 10.
Whatever your dog’s size and breed, when he enters his senior years, you’ll want to take some steps to make him comfortable. As his body ages, he may need some assistance from some of the products out there designed specifically for older dogs.
It’s not uncommon for senior dogs to have arthritis. As a dog’s joints age, they can become stiff and painful. Orthopedic beds help dogs sleep more comfortably and get up with less difficulty by providing more cushion and support.
The Big Barker 7”, by Big Barker, is an orthopedic bed made specifically for large dogs. Dog beds made with memory foam are often a good choice for arthritic senior dogs because this material provides the most amount of thickness and firm support.
For older dogs that suffer from front or hind end weakness caused by arthritis or other medical conditions, a support harness can be a good choice. Support harnesses for older dogs that need help walking provide front leg support, rear leg support or center body support. If you use one of these harnesses for your dog, you’ll be holding up the weak part of his body with the harness. Without having to hold up his own weight, your dog is better able to walk. The Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness by Walkin’ Pets provides dogs with front or rear support.
It can be hard for older dogs to jump up into the car like they used to. Stiff joints and muscle weakness can make it difficult if not impossible for them to leap into the backseat like they once did, or even jump down when the ride is over. Ramps designed specifically for older dogs who can no longer jump and are too big to lift can help older dogs get in and out of vehicles on their own. The Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp, by PetSafe, is an especially good choice for heavier dogs.
Ramps and stairs for use at home can also be helpful to dogs who can no longer jump onto the bed or couch. PetSafe’s Solvit Wood Bedside ramp makes it easy for dogs to make their way onto the bed without having to jump.