Due to advances in veterinary care, dogs are living longer than ever (yay!) and that means you’re likely to have some elderly clients during your time as a pet sitter. Curious about how to take stellar care of senior dogs? We’ve got the scoop on exercise, habits and more!
Even if they can’t go as far as they used to, exercise is still an important part of a senior dog’s routine. During your meet and greet, ask their owner about exercise and the type of play they enjoy. Some senior dogs are still very youthful, but others may not be able to keep up on a run or a long hike. Assess each senior individually and stick to the schedule their owner recommends.
Remember, if you’re boarding senior dogs, you may need to set up your home accordingly. Senior dogs will benefit from soft places to nap, and if you allow dogs on your furniture, stairs to assist arthritic dogs onto the couch will be appreciated. Older dogs, like older people, have a harder time regulating their body temperature. Make sure to watch for signs of dehydration on hot days, and during colder weather be sure a senior dog is protected from the elements. If you specialize in senior dog care, you can even mention it on your pet sitting profile to advertise your skills.
A senior dog might not be able to maintain the schedule they once could. If you’re caring for a senior dog, make sure you check with the owner about their ability to “hold it”. If you work away from the home all day, you may not be the best fit for a senior dog with bladder issues, so ask a lot of questions about your potential senior clients before accepting a stay.
Seniors might have more health issues than you’re used to if you’ve only cared for younger dogs. Arthritis, vision problems, and hearing loss are all common ailments. Be sure you’re up to date on the dog’s medications and any health concerns the owner may want you to pay attention to. And, while we know it’s no fun, if you’re taking a senior dog for an extended stay, be sure to speak candidly with the owners about their end of life plans for their pet just in case.
Seniors may need special considerations in their care, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have an amazing stay with you. By being prepared for their needs you can ensure that they have a safe, healthy and comfortable stay.