As our dogs age, we have to face the fact that they are likely to have special needs and health concerns that need following up on. In my massage and rehab practice, I see a lot of older dogs and most still enjoy life. Some need some help getting around, which may be having some ramps installed around the house or perhaps they need a wheelchair for getting outside.
The important thing about older dogs is creating a life for them that accommodates any limitations they have.
For owners, it is important to work with your healthcare team on what constitutes ‘quality of life.’ Some questions to consider in a quality of life assessment are:
- Is your dog eating and drinking normally?
- Is your dog ambulatory?
- Does your dog have normal elimination habits and are they continent?
- Does your dog interact with other people or animals in the household?
- Has your dog secluded itself in an area of the house on a regular basis?
- On balance, does your dog have more good days than bad?
Dogs often surprise us with their acceptance of physical limitations, but it is up to us to monitor their quality of life.