Your dog has been with you through thick and thin. You’ve had fun with him, you’ve chased him round the park every day, and he’s shared the best years of his life with you. The time has come for him to grow old with dignity and to live out the rest of his years with you in as comfortable a way as possible.
Senior dogs can become a little more set in their ways, and won’t cope quite so easily with disruptions in their daily schedule. He needs a little more routine and more attention from you so that he can feel reassured by your care and not become depressed or anxious. Perhaps he needs a little peace and quiet sometimes, and a good rest every day, and won’t appreciate lots of activity or noise around him, so think about resting his basket to somewhere a little less prominent and offer a little more bedding in case he’s beginning to get a little bit achy in the joints.
Just as humans show their years in physical ways, old dog fitness will be reflected in the quality of their coat, or in the amount of energy they have. You may find that he’s not as eager as he used to be to scoot off into the trees and rush around barking with delight. He may become a little slower, and feel tired more quickly after vigorous exercise. In that case, keep his weight in mind and make sure that he gets enough exercise to burn off calories. Try changing his exercise and walking routines. A little constitutional trot two or three times a day will keep his muscles flexible and his heart in good shape, and he will look forward to this exercise without feeling completely exhausted afterwards.
After all, it’s kindness and consideration he needs now, if he’s beginning to develop aches and pains and not being quite so quick and nimble. He’s getting on a bit and he wants to bask in his golden years.
Think about things you can do to help him – start giving gentle massages and more grooming to give him the personal contact that he may find reassuring and comforting. Be aware of his mood though and don’t disturb him for the sake of it if he’s flaked out after a walk. Plenty of love and affection will keep his mood buoyant and prevent the onset of listlessness or depression, which can occur. Baths can become more leisurely, with the water warm enough to be comforting if he has aches and pains.
It’s simply looking after him to make his advancing years more comfortable, and being tuned in to what his physical and emotional needs are. Although it is sad to see him reach his twilight years, your care and attention is what he deserves for giving you the privilege of having him in your life.