November is National Senior Pet Month! We know most of you probably have had a senior dog, as most dogs are considered to be “seniors” by the age of eight. As your dogs mature, they may begin to exhibit a decrease in joint mobility, stiffness, loss of vision, and even their ability to hear.
We all know that aging is not for the faint of heart. That’s why it’s good to begin working with dogs when they’re young to make the aging transition as easy as possible.
Here are five things to do now that will make your dog’s life easier later on.
1. Teach Your Dogs Hand Signals
Dogs can lose their hearing for a variety of reasons. Genetics certainly plays a role, but so does illness, work environment, and more.
Start training your dogs to understand sign language when they’re young and they will not feel nearly as lost should their hearing begins to fail.
You can use American Sign Language (ASL), or develop new signals of your own. Each time you give a verbal command, reinforce it with a hand signal - it’s that easy. Your pets will begin to understand the connections in just a few hours.
Start with a "Watch Me" signal. Deaf Dogs Rock is an excellent resource for teaching this command.
Other signals that dogs should learn include:
Simply touch your hand to your mouth prior to serving them their meal or offering them a drink during playtime.
Stay or Stop
A hand held palm up is a good indicator for pets to stay, or to stop doing something (particularly rough-housing or playing too hard).
A wave "down" is an easy way to sign this action.
A hand wave or pointing to your waist is a good "heel" command.
Use a long check cord to teach this signal.
2. Teach Them to Use Ramps
Big dogs especially can benefit from learning how to use a ramp early in life. While they probably won't need this skill as a younger dog, they may need it later on.
Teaching the simple act of using ramps when they’re young can help your pet feel more comfortable using these tools as they age.
3. Stop Paws from Slipping
Toe grips and non-slip socks are excellent tools designed to give your senior, arthritic, or special needs dog the extra traction they need to walk on hardwood and other slippery floors and stairs.
4. Train on a Long Lead
offers a very effective lifting harness that fits comfortably around your pet’s hips and allows you to give them a hand if they have problems standing.
The unique harness is available in speciality fitting for male or female dogs, and in several different sizes. The handle can be used to easily lift your pet’s hips by supporting their stomach when they attempt to stand or walk.
Choosing all-natural, responsibly sourced supplements for your dogs is a great way to help them stay healthier later in life.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics, joint support, and much more are available from our Health category.
We love our dogs and want to make their golden years as easy as possible. Fortunately, advances in science and technology help make this easier than ever. Your pets have been with you through good times and bad, don’t they deserve the best?