Changing Needs of Senior Dogs
One of the best parts of traveling with our dogs is seeing their reactions to the places we visit. They've given the roosters in Key West a run for their money ... barked at their echoes in the canyons of Utah ... and splashed in the surf on both coasts.
They've been our constant companions and source of entertainment for more than seven years while we've traveled full-time in the Winnebago, and when you do the math, that means our boys are getting up there in years!
As they've entered their senior years we've noticed that Ty and Buster don't have the stamina they used to, so we've made some adjustments to our plans to accommodate their changing needs. Perhaps some of what we're learning will help you as well.
- Weather plays a major role in how much energy the dogs have. Heat and humidity conspire to sap them of their get-up-and-go, so we're paying much closer attention to the weather forecast and planning more strenuous activities for cool, cloudy, breezy days.
- Whether we're walking or hiking, changes in elevation cause the dogs to tire more quickly, so we're choosing paths that are more level, opting for shorter hikes, and even carrying Ty up some hills if he starts slowing down.
- Days of fun are now followed by a day of rest, so the dogs have time to get off their paws and recover from long walks or hikes.
- We're getting more creative with our outings, too. Grabbing the hammocks and a book, and finding a quiet spot on a lake to while away the day can be just as much fun as more active options. As long as we're all together, everyone's happy.
- Scenic drives are another great option when we're ready to explore, but the dogs aren't up for a lot of physical activity. They can enjoy the scenery passing by the window, get out and do a little sniffing along the way, and nap between stops.
With summer approaching and some ambitious plans on our horizon, we decided that 12-year-old Ty could use a little more help. At 35 pounds, he's a bit too heavy to carry for long distances, but we want him to be able to keep up with his longer-legged and slightly younger brother ... so we ordered a pet stroller.
I never thought I'd be one of those people pushing her dog in a stroller, but after just a couple of weeks, I'm already in love with this purchase! The weather in Florida had been hot and humid, and it's hard to know how much is too much for our boy. Now we can pick a trail, or set out on a walk, and if Ty gets tired, we can just pop him in the stroller! He seems to be enjoying it, and we'll do whatever it takes to keep exploring together for as long as we can.