As your dog ages, she will slow down and start to show signs of aches and pains. But don’t fret – this is completely normal.

The good news? A dog’s golden years are the perfect time to spoil them! Here are five ways you can make life more comfortable for your senior dog.

Give Your Dog a Massage

Often, aging dogs suffer from arthritis and stiff joints, and a massage is a great way to help alleviate some of their discomfort. If you’d like to go the professional route, many cities now have licensed canine massage therapists.

For an at-home massage session try this:

  1. Start by slowly massaging the tips of your dog’s ears. Do this for several minutes.
  2. Next, massage your dog’s jaw muscles on either side.
  3. Massage between your dog’s shoulder blades and then work on the major muscles in each of his legs.
  4. Finish off by gently rubbing in circles down your dog’s back, starting at his neck and ending just above the tail.
  5. To make the massage even more relaxing, try putting some lavender essential oil into a diffuser and placing it in the room where you are working on your dog. You can even play relaxing music (perhaps this soothing mix from YouTube).

Get an Orthopedic Dog Bed (Or Just Double Up)

By now, your dog is probably spending a lot of time resting throughout the day. Why not soften up their space with an orthopedic dog bed? You can also purchase a second dog bed and layer it on top of the other for extra fluffiness and shock absorption.

Invest in Arthritis Medication or Supplements for Older Dogs

As previously noted, many dogs suffer from arthritis as they age. But there are ways you can help soothe their pain. If it’s apparent that your doggie is hurting, ask your veterinarian about prescription medications. Alternatively, glucosamine is a popular joint health supplement that you can give to your dog. You can administer glucosamine in pill form or through specially formulated treats like Dogswell jerky (my dogs give this jerky two paws up, by the way).

Exercise Your Elderly Dog (But Don’t Overdo It)

Your dog may be old, but that doesn’t mean you should completely skip the exercise. A little time outdoors is perfect for continued bonding, keeping up with their physical fitness and stimulating your dog’s mind.

Our 17-year-old pitbull Donna still goes on walks with us, but her mileage and pace have been reduced to accommodate her needs. It’s also necessary to skip a day or two if she’s feeling sluggish. So basically, exercise your elderly dog, but don’t overdo it – let your dog guide the walk and take it at a pace she’s comfortable with.

Get Doggy Stairs

There are a variety of reasons your elderly dog may need stairs – to get inside a raised doggie door, crawl in bed or on the couch with you, or to get into your vehicle. Luckily, there are a variety of pet stairs of different sizes on the market. I have these soft doggie stairs leading up to my bed, and my dogs love them. There are also many car ramps available on the market. My boyfriend has constructed a ramp for Donna to get into the raised doggie door, and that has helped heaps with her indoor/outdoor mobility.