A Dog Is For Life: How to Help Your Ageing Parent Keep Their Dog

As seniors age, many find it increasingly hard to look after themselves. When it comes to looking after a dog too, life can feel impossible for an ageing parent. Of course, most pet owners aren't willing to give up their beloved furry friend when caretaking becomes too difficult. Dogs also offer numerous benefits for the elderly, providing them with comfort, social contact and stress relief. So, if your parent wants to keep their dog but they're struggling, what can you do? Take a look at these tips.

Hire a Dog Walker

One of the biggest issues the older generation suffers with is mobility. When getting from one room to another is painful or taxing, getting a dog out of the house just isn't a possibility. If you don't have time to walk your mum or dad's dog, hiring a dog walker can be a huge help. Take a look at online listings or ask a local teen if they'd like to do the job. Dog walking is generally affordable and ensures that Fido gets the exercise he needs without wearing out your parent. If you're lucky, a neighbour with their own dogs may even be willing to do the job for free.

Manage Vet Visits

Another issue for senior dog owners is vet visits, and the problem is two-fold. First of all, mobility issues mean that walking or even driving to vet check-ups is difficult. Secondly, as your parent's eyesight, memory and hearing begin to deteriorate, it'll be harder for them to notice symptoms of various illnesses. You can help out by keeping track of their dog's health. Look for changes in appearance, listen out for crying, coughing or wheezing, and keep an eye on food levels to ensure Fido's eating well.  If you do notice any signs of illness, you can chauffeur your parent and the dog to the vet clinic. Make sure you look for a good vet clinic that keeps thorough records just in case you need to handle appointments without your parent present. The ideal clinic will also have a vet who makes house calls in case of an emergency you can't get to in time. If your parent doesn't have it already, taking out pet insurance is also a good idea to ensure that retirement funds aren't spent on vet care. 

Look for Aids and Tools

Nowadays, daily living aids (special tools to help disabled and senior citizens around the home and yard) exist for all tasks, from cooking to washing. You can also find aids and tools that help with pet care. Automatic food and water dispensers, for example, can take some of the physical effort out of keeping a dog nourished and hydrated. Why not also invest in a long poop scoop with a torch so your parent doesn't have to stretch aching limbs or strain their eyes to keep the yard free of doggy deposits? You could even craft your own makeshift aids, such as a shelf to hold heavy dog food bags or a hook to keep the dog leash within easy reach.