It’s already been a year since I wrote my first post about caring for your senior dog. Sunny is now 15 1/2, and although she has declined over the last few months, she is still enjoying life. Having an aging dog is never easy, but it honestly makes me so happy to be able to still care for her and give her a good quality of life.
For those of you who haven’t read that first post and/or are unfamiliar with our Sunny dog, she is our sweet and loving Yorkie that was rescued from a puppy-mill when she was 4 years old. She’s in kidney failure (but has been for 2 years!), and she is almost completely blind and partially deaf. Most importantly, she’s a happy girl.
If your dog is at that very late stage of life, I hope these additional tips will help you, too.
Here are some of the newer ways we’re caring for our Sunny:
- Now that Sunny is almost completely blind, we make sure to put her in front of her water several times a day, and we gently guide her face near the water. Honestly, when her eyesight took the latest dive, we didn’t realize it at first, and it took us a while to figure out that she was having trouble finding her water sometimes. We ended up taking her to the vet to get fluids because we could tell she was a little dehydrated. Not alarmingly so, but had we realized she wasn’t always finding her water right away, it would have helped.
- We have a “baby blocker” up near the basement stairs. (“Baby blocker” is the term we always used when we were babyproofing our house when our kids were toddlers.) Sunny is blind enough now that she would fall down the stairs, without the blocker. She’s kind of like a toddler and needs safety too! (We just use her crate and a heavy box as blockers. A baby gate would work better, but the configuration of the stairs doesn’t easily allow one.)
- We stick to an established routine every day. Sunny seems clearly more calm and secure when she knows what to expect at about the same time each day. She loves her routines, and we can tell she’s enjoying her time outside, her family time in the evenings, and her treats. (My husband puts a few greenbeans in his hand when he gets home from work. We tell her it’s time for her “handful of beans,” and she get excited! My husband calls it her “salad” before dinner. )
- We make sure to give Sunny a lot of bathroom breaks. The kidney failure has stayed fairly stable, but it has worsened just a bit, and she has to go out a lot more often. It helps that I’m at home during the day. If I were working outside the home, I would probably have to hire a pet sitter to take her out during the day or recruit a willing helper.
I guess you could say we baby Sunny quite a bit. We always used to say we were “making up for her first 4 years in the puppy-mill,” to justify all of the babying. But, honestly, do we need an excuse? She really is as sweet as she looks.
Senior dog care isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it.
And, as I said in that first post about senior dog care, our senior dogs do deserve more pampering and care. Don’t you agree?
If this post has helped you, I’d love for you to share it!