Senior Dog Care: Part 2
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!
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy
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Our oldest is 13 so she we are starting to see changes. More frequent bathroom breaks, more stiffness. We've always done chiro and massage with her but COVID broke that for both the girls and we've only just resumed chiro, we're looking to find a new option for massage. It makes a huge difference for maintaining mobility in dogs.
I love that you mention massage. Although we've never taken Sunny anywhere for massage, each evening my husband massages her back as she drifts off to sleep. He rubs her neck and back and really seems to give her a genuine massage! She loves it, and it's so sweet.
Teary. You're all so lucky: Sunny, the family, everyone.
Some good news: an owner w/ Alzheimers went into a nursing home and hadn't made plans for her yorkie. They just said on Next Door today that the 10-year-old york found a forever home w/ another yorkie!!
That your husband massages her to sleep at night is so touching. (More tears.)
Wendy, what a sweet, sweet comment, thank you! Also, that is so wonderful about the new home for the Yorkie!
Hi, Pam, thank you so much for this post! Our beloved Cook-a-Poo is almost 13; he is going blind, and had a heart arrhythmia episode a few months ago. Your tips are helpful, and particularly informative about what to expect for the near future. Best wishes for more quality time with your Sunny.
Thanks so much, Irene! I'm so glad the tips were helpful! And, best wishes to your pup, too.
My senior passed away at 17 1/2 last September. He also went blind and had mobility issues, so I carried him a lot (thankfully, he was a rat terrier/Jack Russell mix and not a Labrador). The senior years are challenging, but they are also a time of intense bonding and a chance to love your dog as much as your dog has always loved you. I am touched and moved to see how much you love and nurture your precious pup.
Oh, thank you so much for this sweet comment! You are absolutely right – what a chance to return some of that unconditional love our dogs have given us.
I'm so touched by how you care for your sweet Sunny, Pam. Our Yorkie is three years old and it is inspiring to think Coco could be with us another ten years.
~Lisa, Visiting from Grammy's Grid Unlimited Linkup #36 (#23 & #24)
Aw, best wishes to your Coco, Lisa. I hope you will be blessed with just as money wonderful years as we've had with our Sunny.
Pets enrich our lives so much. I hate seeing people who get a pet and then don't feel it's necessary to properly take care of it. She's cute, how precious! Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 36. Pinned!
Thanks so much, Dee!