Of course we take amazing care of our senior dogs, that goes without saying. They snuggle with us when we’re feeling down, jump for joy when we walk through the door (or just wag their tail if they can’t jump!) and are the best companions ever. Sounds like they deserve a little extra pampering!!
From massages and hotel breaks, to orthopedic beds and home cooked meals, these are just some of the 28 great ways I know of to spoil your old dog.
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28 Ways to Spoil and Pamper Your Senior Dog
Did you know some spas now offer a “Pampered Pooch” experience? That’s right! Not only are they allowed on the grounds, they can join you for a massage! Click here for a list of doggy spas in the UK, and here on where to spoil your pup in the U.S.
Massage is top of my list because aside from scavenging for food, Jack loves nothing more than a good massage. You don’t have to go through any special training, just give your dog a rub!! Jack is a small dog and his favourite position is lying on my legs, on his back, head lolling with delight.
If your dog has mobility issues, or there is a specific condition massage would be helpful for, it’s best to speak with a certified canine massage therapist to learn proper techniques. Ask your vet for a recommendation, or visit the links below.
Canine Massage Guild (UK)
Create a Backyard Playground
We take our old dogs for their daily walks, but wouldn’t it be great if we could do more to stimulate them and keep them entertained! We don’t always have the time or energy to whisk them off on adventures, and sometimes their health issues make that impossible. What’s the next best thing? Creating a backyard playground of course!!
It’s easy to do, doesn’t have to cost much, and any size garden is perfect! Don’t have a garden? A balcony can work too.
♦ The first step is to ensure your garden is securely fenced in, and there’s nothing lying around your dog could hurt himself on.
♦ Buy or build a shelter from the cold, wind and rain, even though some dogs don’t mind being outside in all types of weather.
♦ Have a water feature your dog can drink from, or use a large water bowl.
♦ Set up an easy to use agility course, taking your dog’s mobility into consideration. Elevate a broom off the ground using a brick at each end and have your dog walk over it. A few cones from the dollar store can create an obstacle course, and a store-bought kid’s tunnel is a fun thing for your pup to play in. Entice him with a treat at the other end so he knows how to walk through it!!
♦ A paddling pool is a great way to cool off in the hot weather, even if all he does is stand in it.
♦ How about a sandbox with a toy or two hidden inside? Buy a kid’s one or build your own. If you don’t have enough space, the bottom of a litterbox should do the trick. Your dog doesn’t have to jump in, he just needs to be able to put his front legs in to dig!
♦ Create a shady area using a big umbrella so your dog can get out of the heat.
♦ How about a sprinkler he can run/walk through?
At home Spa Session
Your old dog may not be feeling so great right now, or some of his health issues have made him a bit anxious around loud noises or in unfamiliar surroundings. He can still enjoy a pamper session if you create a spa like atmosphere in the comfort of your own home.
Play some calming music, my favourite is Through a Dog’s Ear, then give your dog a bath with some delicious smelling shampoo, massaging it in with a rubber brush, then dry him off with warmed towels. Did anyone say great bonding opportunity!!
Sounds a bit too much for him to handle right now? How about an oatmeal foot bath!!
Take Your Dog to Work…in Your Home Office
Anyone who works from home understands the need to be disciplined. It’s too easy to find other things to do that will distract us, and one of those distractions is the dog!! For those of us whose old dogs are sick, we keep a watchful eye over them as much as possible. If they’re resting in another room, how many times do we break our concentration to jump up and check on them?
Why not set up a cosy doggy space in your home office? He’ll probably feel more relaxed being near you, and you can better focus on your work. A comfy bed and blanket, a favourite toy or bone and a bowl of water are all you need. I have a blanket under my desk, and my dog Jack just loves it under there.
Visit a Pet Friendly Store Together
I don’t do much shopping for myself, but when I pass a pet supply store I’m right in there checking out what’s new. The next time you’re in the mood to buy your pup something, step away from your computer/phone/laptop/tablet and take him with you to an actual store. Had your eye on that swanky new shop in town? Need some gardening supplies? Now is the perfect time for a visit. It’s not just about the purchase it’s about a fun time for your dog.
Buy Your Dog a Stroller
I consider a dog stroller one of the best inventions in the pet supply world. I’m on my second one and would be lost without it. Yes it makes life easier for me, but it also makes it more fun for Jack. With his mobility issues he can only walk so far, the rest of the time he rides. He can join us on day trips no matter where we go, and it doesn’t matter how long we’re out because he’s with us.
Treat Him or Her to Doggie Day Care
Whether you’re away from home a lot or you want to treat your dog to an extra bit of fun, doggie day care may be the answer. He’ll get the chance to play with other dogs, have a change of scenery and come home nicely tuckered out. Some facilities even offer the convenience of a pick-up and drop off service. If your dog has mobility or other health issues, find out if they have a separate quieter area, or research day cares that specialize in elderly clients.
You may not think your dog is up for it, but if you find a place that sounds like a possibility why not bring him with you to check it out. Worst case scenario it’s not a good fit and you leave, best case…a few hours of fun!
Invest in a New Collar, Leash and Harness
I admit this one may be more for you then your dog who probably already has an extensive collection!! Still, it’s always fun to buy a new accessory, maybe something for a special occasion? Who knows, they may realise they’re looking extra smart that day!!
Have a Picnic
I’ve taken my dogs for picnics at the beach and they were fun times, and I see lots of other dog parents do the same. Pack a picnic lunch, an umbrella or pop up shelter for shade, lots of water, treats and something soft to lie on. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and videos.
Enjoy a Glass of Wine Together
While you’re drinking Prosecco treat your dog to a glass of something tasty too! Woof & Brew is a pet drinks company with a variety of beer, wine and tea just for dogs. Serve it as a drink or pour over your pet’s food, and you’ll no longer be drinking alone!!
Treat Your Dog to a Home Cooked Meal
I know you’re already feeding your dog a healthy nutritious diet, but sometimes it’s nice to get a home cooked meal. There are many simple meal ideas online, with Pinterest being a great resource. You can make something as simple as making a stew with low fat ground beef or chicken, peas, carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes. Check with your vet to make sure all the ingredients are safe for your old dog.
Surprise Him With a Gift Hamper
Fill a box with his favorite things – a nice fleece blanket, a tasty bone, a fun toy, delicious treats, and let him pull them out by himself. He can even use the box for some fun afterwards!
Throw a Dog Party
Why should humans be the only ones to have parties, our dogs deserve them too, right!! Invite other pet parents over for a couple of hours of fun with their dogs, and this might motivate you to set up that backyard playground you’ve been thinking about. Whip up a batch of homemade treats for snack time, and include a few, together with the recipe, in a doggy bag for each guest. Finally I can use the words “doggy bag” and mean it literally!!
When putting together your guest list make sure your old dog won’t be too overwhelmed. The first time you throw your pet party maybe do a test run and start with just 1 or 2 other dogs, and make sure they match your pup’s energy level.
If the weather is cold and your dog isn’t getting out as much as he should, it’s time to visit a friend and have a play date. A change of scenery and the chance to socialise will do you both a world of good. Bring along some of those homemade treats for both dogs when they take a break from all that fun!
Go on an Adventure
Your dog gets his daily dose(s) of exercise, but just like we get bored seeing and doing the same thing day after day our dogs probably do too.
How about planning something extra special? My dog loves going on the bus. I don’t know why but sometimes he will head straight for the bus stop and just stand there. When I remember to put money in my pocket and it’s one of “those days” we’ll hop on the bus for a few minutes ride into down. I stop in at the local fruit and vegetable shop that allows dogs, walk around window shopping then head home. Jack gets his walk and an adventure rolled into one.
Does your dog love to swim? Take him to the beach. How about a hike? Even walking in a different area means the chance to explore a new park or part of town.
When given the choice of buying or cooking I choose buying almost every time, and that includes dog treats. Can you relate to my apathy about cooking? To be honest I feel a bit bad about that because there are thousands of recipes, many of them super easy, there’s really no excuse to not give it a try.
One day I took the plunge and made turkey balls, and boy did my dogs go crazy!! They loved them so much they acted like they hadn’t eaten in days! The recipe was not only super easy, I was able to make the meatballs as small as I wanted and they were freezable. I had treats that lasted for weeks! I have no idea what happened to that recipe, but check online there are tons of easy to make treats. Pinterest is a good place to start.
Sweaters and Coats
As my dogs get older (although they all came to me old!), they are less able to handle the cooler weather so sweaters and coats are a must. I’ve built up quite a collection but that doesn’t mean I can resist when I see a particularly cute one!!
If you live in a colder climate, try a sweater and/or coat. It could make a big difference in his willingness to walk. To make them extra special, have them personalised.
Get on the Floor and Cuddle!
After a long day out of the house I’m sure your comfy couch is calling your name, but wait! Your oldie missed you while you were gone, so get down on the floor for some cuddles.
Buy The Best Bed Ever!
Adding a fleece blanket or heating pad to your pup’s bed can make it even more cosy and comfortable. Thinking of buying another bed so he doesn’t have to walk too far? How about an orthopaedic bed or mat?
For dogs struggling with mobility I like the style with 3 raised sides and a low front. They can lean against the sides and it’s easy to get in and out of.
If you feel like treating him to a super fancy bed there are plenty fit for a king or queen.
Schedule One on One Playtime
Is there a better way to pamper your dog then your undivided attention? Whether that’s to play, snuggle or a good old-fashioned belly rub, find 10 minutes in your day to spend together. If your days are quite structured, write it in your calendar and honor it like you would any other appointment.
Invest in an Orthopedic Bed
An orthopedic bed can make a huge difference in terms of comfort for a dog with arthritis and other mobility issues. While they may have technology and comfort on their side, that doesn’t mean every dog will be interested. It’s probably going to be a case of trial and error, but it’s worth looking into.
Dinner and a Movie
How about both of you eating dinner at the same time one evening, put your jim jams on, snuggle under a blanket together and turn on a favourite flick. Whether it’s a movie you’ve been wanting to see or it’s dog tv, it’s the snuggling and hanging out together that’s fun.
Schedule a Pet Resort Getaway
As more and more dog lovers are looking for holiday destinations they can enjoy with their canine family members, resorts are going all out to offer pet friendly amenities. Whether it’s a plate of bone shaped cookies on arrival, a dog bed waiting in the room or pet friendly dishes like grilled salmon or beef tenderloin, your dog will be pampered big time. Want a pet “turn down” service? That can also be arranged. Search for dog friendly hotels or resorts in the location you’re considering!
Visit a Pet Bakery
What dog wouldn’t have a blast in a bakery full of treats just for them! I’ve been to a couple and the treats looked so amazing it was hard to believe they weren’t for humans!!
Have Dinner Out…Together
Ever noticed how many dog friendly eateries are popping up? To take that a step further, some even have menus just for the dog!! So whether you’re doing the indulging and your dog is there to watch, or you both get to tuck into a special meal someone else prepared, what could be a better date than going out to dinner with your furry companion?
Buy or Build a Ramp
Your canine friend may have difficulty getting in and out of the car as he ages. Fido may also have a hard time climbing stairs, or even getting onto the sofa. Pet ramps or stairs will help him get around more easily. If he or she is having trouble with the steps into your house, why not build a ramp? You can find DIY videos on Youtube. My husband built one, and it’s made a massive difference for our dogs.
What’s the Best Pampering Session of All?
That’s right, quality time together. The time we have with our dogs passes too quickly, and for those of us who share our lives with senior dogs that time is so much shorter than we would like.
How do you pamper your dog? Let us know in the comments below.
I’m a dog trainer specialising in working with senior dogs. Whether you have health & wellness concerns, or you’ve just rescued an older dog and need training tips, I can help! Sessions are conducted via Zoom and I offer a FREE 15 minute no obligation chat. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website.