(SENIOR PETS/OLDER DOGS) Your dog has been your best friend for many years, but perhaps now he/she is slowing down, sleeping more and becoming startled by pats on the back.  Is there a better way to communicate with an aging dog? Absolutely!

Dogs can continue to live happy lives well into their senior years, but guardians should make some adjustments to help them when blindness and deafness start to set in.

Taking care of a dog who is going deaf or blind is a matter of peace, love, and understanding. Photo Credit: thedogtrainingsecret.com

Follow the following tips and keep Fido relaxed in his/her golden years:

1. Be careful where you touch him when he’s sleeping, avoiding the hindquarters because he might startle, thinking somebody is trying to sneak up on him.

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Mr. Tiggs is one of the many older dogs featured in Tom Cohen’s book “Dogs with Old Man Faces” Photo Credit: Dan Winters

2. If  your dog is awake, but doesn’t respond when you call him, use a flashlight  to get his attention. Pair the light with a food treat and your dog will soon learn to look at  you when he sees the light.

3. When you do touch your dog when he’s sleeping, don’t apply a lot of pressure. Instead, lightly touch the tips of his hair .  Repeat the light touch and he’ll wake up.  Be consistent and touch your dog in the same place on his body  each time you wake him and he’ll soon learn when he feels your touch that it is you.

4. Sometimes old dogs can smell in their sleep.  You can hold your hand under his nose to see if your scent wakes him.

5. Finally, just know that as your dog gets older, he’s going to resemble a cat and spend a lot more time sleeping.  So adjust your expectations for walks and play to accommodate your pooch’s needs and you’ll both enjoy his twilight years.