Sometimes it’s hard to believe your dog is no longer a puppy. They’re still as keen as ever to go out for a walk. They still get excited at the sound of the doorbell. They still love their squeaking duck toy beyond all reason.
Occasionally, though, you realise that although your dog may still be a pup at heart, time is catching up with their body.
Is your dog older than you think?
We tend to think that a dog becomes a senior at the age of seven. However, recent research suggests that they might be eligible for their free doggy bus pass a little sooner. According to a study by the University of California, your one year old pup is already 31 in human terms!
Science Magazine has helpfully provided this dog age calculator, which shows that a dog is likely to enter their senior years at around the age of six.
Signs of stiffness
As your dog graduates into the senior class, they will naturally demand more ‘top dog’ status perks, such as claiming the warmest spot in the kitchen for themselves.
You might also notice that your dog starts to show signs of having stiff joints. For example:
- Your dog is sleeping more – while your dog might just fancy a nap, they could have taken to their dog bed because their joints are feeling stiff.
- Walks are taking longer – if your dog is lagging behind a bit on walks, it could be because they’re finding it harder to walk quickly.
- Your dog finds it difficult to get up after resting – stiff, ageing joints might make it harder for your dog to stand up when they’ve been lying down.
- Your dog is reluctant to walk, jump or play – if your dog’s joints are feeling stiff, your dog might find it harder to chase after a ball or jump up for a treat.
How you can help your dog’s stiff joints
As animal lovers, we want to do the best for our dogs and their creaky joints. So it’s likely you’re already doing sensible things like cutting down on long walks and ball-throwing sessions, and giving them a joint supplement such as YuMOVE PLUS.
But did you know that there’s also plenty that you can do in your home to make life easier for your pooch? Here’s our round-up of tips that can make a big difference for your dog.
Save your dog from slippery flooring
Wooden floors, lino and tiles can be very slippery under a dog’s paws, especially when they’re excited about walkies and are dashing for the door. As they get older, your dog will have to work extra hard to stop themselves from slipping, as their muscles may have become weaker with age.
When your dog slips, this can move their muscles out of range, and can cause small injuries to their muscles, tendons and ligaments. This has a tendency to make joint stiffness worse.
Use non-slip mats and trim those nails
One simple solution is to secure mats to the floor with non-slip tape so that your dog can walk without the risk of slipping and sliding. Another option is to put non-slip rubber mats in areas where your dog tends to spend a lot of their time.
It also makes sense to ensure that your dog’s nails are well-clipped and that the hair around and between their toes is trimmed. That will give them more traction as they walk across the floor. We also like the look of these non-slip dog socks, which are both majorly cute and practical.
No stairway to heaven (upstairs)
Your dog knows as well as you do that all the best dog beds are upstairs. You might insist that they’re for humans, not for four-pawed snoozers, but they’ll never be convinced.
However, climbing up and down stairs can be tough on stiff joints. So it’s a good idea to install baby gates at the bottom of your stairs to reduce the likelihood of your dog sneaking upstairs for a dog nap. This will also save you on laundry.
Ramping things it up
Moving up and down steps outdoors can also put more pressure on your pooch’s joints. You can help your dog by installing a ramp to give them an alternative route.
Also, while we’re on the subject of making life easier for your senior dog, you could look into using a ramp to make it easier for them to get in and out of the car. This guide to the best cars for dogs includes several that are spacious and have easily accessible boots. The Land Rover Discovery Sport even has a portable shower to help you wash off your pooch after it’s trailed through a series of muddy puddles!
Get a deluxe dog bed
Help your pooch to sleep sweetly at night – and during the day – with a dog bed that’s designed for older, stiffer joints.
The ideal dog bed for senior canine citizens will:
- Be large enough for them to spread out.
- Have a chamfered (sloping) edge, making it easier to get in and out of.
- Be secure with no risk of slipping – try putting a Dycem mat underneath.
Cold and damp draughts can make things worse for stiff joints, so make sure that you put your dog’s bed in a warm place away from draughty doors and windows.
Take dinner to a new level
Another great way to take the pressure off your dog’s stiff joints is to use a raised-height dog bowl. There are all kinds of inventive designs available, including this fancy copper double bowl style and handmade personalised oak dog feeders.
We also just wanted show you this:
This is Pippa enjoying your own personal pathway across the driveway at home. Due to her age and issues with her paws and joint stiffness, Fiona (from YuMOVE) and her family created her, her own dedicated path out of the way of the stones!
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Here’s Pippa who is 14 and doing a real life “dog walk” on her new path. As Pippa is getting older her family have made a new path using weed membrane / groundsheet material. This protects her paws from the stones. Have you made any home environment changes to protect your senior dog’s joints? Let our community know your top tips 🐶💚
What do you think?
We hope you find these suggestions helpful. If you have any questions about your dog’s joint health, do get in touch with our friendly customer service team. And if you have any tips to share, please let us know via Facebook or Instagram.