Written by Megan McCorkle LVT
With the holidays coming we know that things get busy quickly. You have the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and the “hustle and bustle” we have all come to know. What about the senior dog in your life?
The holidays present us with the perfect time to make memories with them so this holiday season, we're giving you 5 ways to be more intentional about time with your senior dog. The truth is that time with our senior dogs is precious and short so being intentional about the way we go through this holiday season will set us up for the happy holidays we all want to have. Here are a few things we can ask ourselves or do to help be more present this holiday season.
1. Practicing Gratitude Each Day.
A good way to be in the moment with your pet is to list out 5 things you are thankful for when it comes to your dogs. How about starting each day with a positive thought about your dog and their current health status?
It might be how excited they get when you get home. Or maybe they had a good walk that morning or ate a full meal and has some pep in his step. Maybe the joy comes from remembering all the times they knew when you needed a little extra cuddle? Remembering that time they warned you of danger. Maybe it is the joy and laughs they bring to your daily life. Gratitude helps us connect better with our senior dogs.
2. Prioritize and plan quality time with your senior
We know the holiday season is a busy season for most families. Our fix? Scheduling time with our senior dogs and making it a priority for us. Make a point to prioritize your senior even if it is just for 15 special minutes a day. If you are busy with your kids, try to include your four-legged family member- can you push them in a stroller or wagon, can they be out with you on a leash? Bring their bed over close so they can be near when you color or play family games.
My older dog loved to help me wrap presents- he preferred to rip the paper to shred or carry the bows off to hide, but it brought him so much joy to be involved. Years later these memories bring me comfort in his absence.
3. Give Them a Little Extra.
Making cookies for the family? Have you tried a cookie recipe for your dog? Here is a really simple Peanut butter pumpkin cookie recipe we like: https://www.rover.com/blog/peanut-butter-pumpkin-softies/. Remember, never use anything that has xylitol in it and be mindful to only introduce very small amounts of anything new for your dog!
4. Take a break from social media
Have you ever noticed the big brown eyes staring at you while you are on your computer or phone buying your Christmas gifts or scrolling social media? Shut the screen off for that special 15 minutes and really engage with your senior. You will get so much love out of that simple effort and your dog feels 100 times that love. If you are still shopping for that last-minute gift for your senior check out our Holiday Senior Dog Box for your pup! They are loving it!
5. Be Ok with Downtime.
Finally, remember that right here and now you can be present and in the moment with your senior dog. So close your eyes during one of your big hugs and notice the scents and sounds that stand out to you in that moment. It is a great routine to get into so that each time you might find something else to be thankful for at that moment with your pet. You will be amazed at the small things you might notice and become more grateful for. For us, simply having this amazing creature in my life that I can cherish and be bonded to is always something I am grateful for.
If you enjoyed this blog then we hope you join other Dog Parents like you and transform from concerned to 'in-the-know' dog parent with our one-of-a-kind vet created courses. Learn more about creating a healthier life for your aging dog, by checking out our free resources and top-rated Longer Living Dog Mini Course for Pet Parents. Your dog will thank you.