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Golden Years with your Canine Companion

You have reached the age of retirement and you have happy times ahead to enjoy with family, friends, and your dogs, who may very well be in their golden years also. It may be daunting to think that your canine companions may be coming to the end of their lives, and what do you do when that devastating sad time arrives?

You are still agile and don’t feel aged in any way but you may have to revise your checklist of desirable adoption-dog characteristics if you wish to add another dog to your family. You may very well have had Great Danes most of your life, but perhaps a smaller and maybe older dog would be a better fit at this moment in time when you are a sprite 70-year-old.

Older dogs have a harder time in finding a forever home so it is a win win for both of you. We are told use it or lose it, and walking is essential for our health and well- being all dogs need exercise also, but a large dog pulling on their lead pulling you down the street is not a good choice. However, a zippy and active young dog may also be a tripping hazard for an adult with mobility challenges so perhaps it is very wise to opt for a mature trained dog.

Ageing with dogs is very positive. There are lots of good things about being a senior dog owner. When you reach retirement, you have more time to spend with them. Having an animal companion helps to ease loneliness and stress. They keep you more active and social and if you want to move into a retirement home, many these days welcome companion animals, recognizing that the physical and mental health of their residents is enhanced by their animal companion.

You may want to travel and holiday with your animal companion and there are lots of pet friendly hotels. Motor homes are very popular these days and you can even visit friends without imposing your furry companion on them with their home from home motor home.

raining for you and excellent for your dog, or hire a dog trainer to come to your home.


So, are there any down sides to being an ageing pet owner. Perhaps it is a matter of finances. Can you afford to take care of one or more animal companion? Can you afford food, bedding and any emergencies that crop up? If your animal companion is elderly medical needs can be expensive.

Dog equipment to make fastening easier is available. Front clip harnesses ease the pain of leash pulling. A waist belt is extremely helpful for people with arthritic hands, that can clip your dog’s lead to your belt. This transfers the dog’s pulling pressure to your hips and allows you to be hands free. Of, course you have to be stable enough and that your dog isn’t too big and able to pull you over. Bungee leads give some stretch and can reduce impact if your dog runs to the end of the lead. Ezy Dog shock lead works very well. Ruffwell sells a waist belt that comes with a stretchy lead. Dog ramps can be useful if you cannot pick your dog up to get into the car or jump on your bed. You can also give treats on sticks, as simple as peanut butter on a long-handled wooden spoon can make it easier.


Hiring a professional dog walker for a few days can also be beneficial to you both if you are not feeling up to walking on any particular day. Family can help with visits to the vet, groomer, and training classes. You can also find mobile groomers to come to your home that will collect your dog. There are many online companies that will deliver pet supplies to your home.

The most important and difficult discussion with your family is about planning for their dog’s future. Family can make these decisions easier by putting their minds at rest that their companions will be cared for in the event of their death. This is what puts many elderly people off having a canine companion but do not want their canine companion to outlive them. However, there are several solutions to ensure your dog is cared for after you are gone.


Ask family and friends before you designate them to care for your dog’s care in a will. And leave instructions as to what food they eat, medical issues and any medication, your veterinarians name and contact number and your companions favourite toys and sleeping places and general routine.


You can sign up for a canine care card with the Dog’s Trust. The service is free of charge whereby your dog will be cared for by people who love dogs. They promise that they never destroy a healthy dog and that your dog will be kept safe, warm, given medical care, looked after and loved until they find a forever home. Please note that, especially in the case of an older dog, they may never find a forever home again.

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11 sept. 2023

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