Winter Tips for Senior Dogs
It’s winter, and the skies are just a little bit grayer and the weather a little bit colder. For older dogs, this may also mean it’s just that much harder to go about their day as usual. Aging can be quite an adjustment for both senior dogs and their pawrents, and winter can pose special challenges. But being over the hill doesn’t have to mean that their quality of life has to go downhill, too.
Photo by Brooke Cagle
While it can be difficult to see an aging dog struggling with daily activities, it’s also an opportunity to be more attuned to their needs and to bond with them more deeply. Our dogs have faithfully stayed by our sides through the years, and it only takes a little preparation to make sure that we now tend to their changing needs. Below are a couple of basic suggestions that can make life easier for senior dogs during the winter months.
Make Ramps Available
It’s no secret that cold weather can make joints feel stiff and painful. Just because a dog hasn’t officially been diagnosed with arthritis doesn’t mean they have the body of their puppy years. A ramp in particularly cold seasons or regions can make movement less challenging for aging dogs.
Offer Warm Bedding
Something simple like cozy bedding can make a world of difference for older dogs with aching bones. Joint pain doesn’t strike only when canines are in motion. In fact, nighttime is when joint pain intensifies, causing fatigue from low quality sleep. A soft and warm blanket can provide sweet relief throughout the night, which in turn will help your doggo feel more rested the day after.
Use an Indoor Dog Bathroom
Not into the idea of going out on a winter night to go potty? For senior dogs, this can pose unique challenges. Weak joints, poor eyesight, and slippery surfaces are a dangerous mix. And for dogs dealing with dementia, the nighttime can be especially confusing. Make going to the bathroom as smooth of a process as possible by using a real bark pee pad inside. It’s not only convenient, natural wee wee pads offer textures and smells to help guide pooches to the appropriate potty area. Just make sure the pad is in an easy-to-access location.
Dress for the Weather
Whether or not an indoor dog bathroom is the pet potty solution you choose, dogs will still be exposed to the elements when on walks or excursions. Again, older doggos are prone to slips and falls, so it’s best to equip them with non-slip, waterproof shoes to prevent any accidents.
Feed Holistic Ingredients
With older age comes weakened immune systems, which are especially vulnerable during the colder months. Nutrient-rich treats are an easy way to offer additional support for your fur baby’s health during the winter. Ingredients such as turmeric boosts dogs’ natural defense systems. Coconut is another wholesome ingredient that not only offers holistic benefits, but also works as an appetite stimulant for older dogs who are less food motivated.