Living with your older dog can be a truly rewarding experience. I myself have Rocky who is 14 years old. We frequently visit the vet for any changes that I see. As your pet ages changes sometimes subtle changes can occur. Joints may get stiff so you may see their legs literally come out from under them. Their breathing can become laboured, this you need to keep an eye on as it could be a sign of Pneumonia, lung or heart disease. My dog has a chronic bronchitis, sounds like the whooping cough. I started him on meds dosage for twice a day and then to start to wean him off of them and it got worse. So I have gone back up to the original dose and will be monitoring a what point in the weaning he starts to get worse and that is where I will leave him for life. For me keeping the dog healthy and pain free is important.
You also should pay close attention to weight. A couple of pounds fluctuation is fine however a major jump means that there may be some underlying issues. If you have both younger and older dogs you need to monitor play more closely. A younger dog sometimes does not understand when it is time to stop, this should be up to his humans to monitor. I believe if you have a multi dog household that you should spend some one on one time with your older dog. I walk my dogs separately so that my older dog Rocky can enjoy going at his slow pace sniffing around as slowly as he wants, having a burst of energy when he wants. For me he has earned that. Yes he will try and keep up if I had both dogs, however it is only because he wants to please me and I have had the pleasure of being with him and learning from him for so many years.
Rocky was the reason I am in this business. That problem dog that I struggled with from the day after I adopted him when he was bit. We spent many hours with many different trainers working through the best way to manage his behaviour.
Older dogs require special care and it’s more important than ever to pay attention to their behaviour. If you’re fortunate and have enjoyed many years with your dog, you’ve experienced many behaviour changes. As a puppy they were full of energy and loved lots of exercise and activity. Their health likely wasn’t an issue early on either…as long as you were diligent in keeping up visits to your Vet.
As your dog grows older many things change: Sleep patterns, activity levels, nutrition needs and illnesses. One thing that doesn’t change is that they still want to be with us…and to please us. So take the time to care for your older dog. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences of all.
At The Dog Stop we are dedicated to ensuring that you and your pet have a long and healthy relationship. We offer training for every age and stage for your dog. Visit our Training page for details: The Dog Stop Training.