With Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of February, it has become the month of love. Most of us take the time to show our human friends and family how much we care but what about our senior dogs? How can we give them the TLC they deserve not only on Valentine’s Day but all year round?
At Dog Quality, my mission is to bring hope and happiness to older dogs and pet parents. Plus, I’m a mom to senior pets myself, so I’ve picked up plenty of ideas for how to show your dog you love them. Here are a few:
Make Eye Contact
Research has shown that making eye contact with your dog sparks the release of oxytocin, known as the love hormone, in humans and creates a bond similar to that between a mother and a baby. In a study, the longer the gaze, the more of the hormone that was released. The researchers believe there is a continuous bonding loop between humans and pooches. Eye contact stimulates the release of oxytocin in humans, which makes them interact with their dog, and the interaction and eye contact in turn creates an oxytocin spike in the dog. As many of us pet parents are already well aware, our dogs can love us deeply and grow attached to us, just as we do with them! So, one of the simplest ways to show your dog you love them is to just make soft eye contact and interact with them.
Read Their Facial Expressions and Body Language
Dogs rely heavily on their body language and facial expressions to tell us how they’re feeling. It’s important to take the time to understand your dog and what they’re communicating. This is especially true when it comes to seniors who may start to experience certain challenges and won’t have the words to tell you what they need. When you know what your dog is feeling, you can step in and help them or at least empathize and give them affection and attention.
Go for Walks
Senior dogs – well, all dogs – need the stimulation and exercise they get from walks. Another of the best ways to show your dog you love them is to get outdoors so they can have fresh air and explore. Try new routes to keep your aging dog sharp. Adventures are an amazing way for the two of you to bond. If your dog gets tired easily and can’t navigate certain terrain, consider our Dogger dog buggy. They can hop in when they need a rest and then get down and walk again when they’re ready. The fun and exercise can continue and your dog will feel loved and cared for knowing he or she won’t be left behind because of mobility problems.
Talk With Your Pooch
According to a study published in the journal Science, dogs can understand some human speech. The researchers monitored the dogs’ brains with an MRI scanner as they spoke with them. Just like humans, the dogs processed language with the right side of their brain, which deals with emotion, and the left side of their brain, which handles the meaning. The dogs were truly happy when both the right and left side agreed that they were hearing praise, meaning the tone of voice matched the words being said. So, praise your senior dog and tell them how much you care about them using a positive, upbeat tone and watch the joy it brings them!
Engaging and having fun with your four-legged family member is a great way to show your dog you love them. Though it might seem like playing is for younger dogs, our fur babies are never too old to play. Continuing to do activities with them will stave off boredom and depression and strengthen your bond. You may have to adapt how you play to what your older dog can handle. For example, I’ve had two senior dogs, Churchill and Paige, who just absolutely loved chasing balls. Because playing fetch made them so happy, I continued to toss them the ball but I threw it close to them so they could have a blast without overexerting themselves. Or, you could do something that involves less running around like a treat-finding game with old containers or boxes. The point is, just keep playing in any way that works for your senior dog.
As pack animals, most dogs crave close contact with their humans and a lot of them are cuddle bugs. In fact, you may have noticed that when you’re sitting or standing, your dog tends to lean against you or lie on your feet. This is one of the things dogs do to show love. Reciprocate the cuddling to show your dog you love them back.
Invest in the Right Assistance Products
Dog assistance products, like the ones we make at Dog Quality, can bring comfort and ease to your senior dog by managing issues, such as incontinence, and giving them the ability to continue to get around. This way, you can keep on cuddling, enjoying each other’s company and showing your dog how much you love them. If your senior pooch is suffering from accidents and you’re hesitant to let them up on the couch or in your bed, consider our Washable Wonders dog diapers and blanket pads to protect surfaces and keep your dog comfy. For mobility problems, our dog socks, dog steps and dog bed ramp will restore their confidence, protect them from injury and prevent their world from shrinking.
Try these tips for how to show your dog you love them and shop Dog Quality for products that can help give your fuzzy Valentine the quality of life they deserve!