Once your Poodle advances in years, how can you best care for your aging pet every day? “Give your Poodle whatever she wants to keep happy,” suggests one aging Poodle owner. “She deserves it for being such a loyal and loving companion.”
You can start by giving your Poodle a softer place on which to rest her aching bones and joints. Perhaps in her youth she was content to nap on a hard floor, but in old age a comfy bed is in order. Stiffness from osteoarthritis is made worse by sleeping on cold, damp ground or hard surfaces.
You can purchase a soft bed at a pet-supply store or make one yourself with thick foam rubber (easily found at thrift stores) covered with a machine-washable, snug blanket. Place the bed in a dry, draft-free area of the house. Older dogs are sensitive to the extremes of heat and cold. Additionally, reduce stiffness by drying off your Poodle if she gets wet.
Dry her thoroughly after bathing or an outing in wet weather. Make sure she doesn’t get wet and stay damp.
An arthritic Poodle may find it difficult to bend down to eat and drink from bowls on the floor. Consider buying an eating table (a neck-level table with special cutouts for food and water bowls) for her. This will be more comfortable for the senior Poodle who is hesitant to bend her neck due to the stiffness of arthritis.
While an arthritic Poodle may wish to avoid activity because it’s painful, there’s nothing more beneficial to an older dog than a regular exercise program. Exercise improves muscle tone and strength, keeps joints moving, and keeps weight on target. The veterinarian can prescribe medication to reduce arthritic pain to make exercise possible.
Activity is essential, but you’ll need to protect your arthritic Poodle from injury by modifying exercise and not allowing her to overdo it. Avoid jumping and other activities that wear down the joints more. Lift your olden poodle in and out of the car. Avoid stairs and rough play. Let her choose the pace she wants.
The aging Poodle needs more rest than she did in her younger years. If the Poodle is exercising on a regular basis and wishes to nap more, allow that. Just make sure you have a comfy bed handy.
The older Poodle is a creature of habit. She is not likely to appreciate sudden changes in routine, bed placement, food dishes, and activity. Keep such changes to a minimum, changing only what you must.
If you’re planning a vacation, consider hiring a pet sitter to care for your Poodle at home rather than take her to a boarding kennel. Older dogs don’t tolerate drastic changes in their routine such as being away from home in a boarding kennel no matter how nice the place is. Keeping your old Poodle at home while you’re away in the care of a trusted pet sitter is often your best option.