The first time you call his name and he doesn't move - you panic. It's been a great 16 years, but now your ace companion is in the autumn of his days. Here's how to make it more comfortable for both of you.
Prepare yourself and watch closely for signs of aging. Some dogs' coats begin to gray, they don't jump up as quickly when they see you, they may not see you completely (cataracts, glaucoma, etc.), walking up stairs may take a bit longer, they may not respond when you call them, they seem to have forgotten most of their training - or they may seem to mope a little more each day or act grumpy.
Keep up your regular vet visits. Some ailments are a part of natural aging, however you never know when that frequent urination is because of a larger problem. When your dog is older, you can't overlook what may seem like a temporary problem.
Keep up the regular exercise schedule. Just tone it down a bit within Old Yeller's comfort zone. Exercise keeps those old arthritic bones oiled.
Change to a lighter food made specifically for senior canines. Many dogs gain or lose weight with age, so keep an eye on the diet. Your dog can benefit from the same nutrients as you, so try to choose whole foods with antioxidants, omega 3's, alpha linolenic acid (ALA)(to help reduce inflammation) - ProPlan and Nutro have holistic foods for seniors.
Change your dog over to a vaccination schedule of every three years (recommended by major veterinary colleges).
Keep your dog engaged - lots of hugs and touching. If she's disinterested in her old toys, try something new - softer, smaller, squishier.
Invest in door/baby gates and play pens and don't rule out puppy pads. Old boy doesn't want to go in the house, but sometimes . . .
Get a great, comfy pet bed, but not too high so as to make it difficult to step into.
Look for softer treats that can be tolerated by older, worn teeth. Maybe even give a little canned food occasionally. Dry food can be moistened with water to make for easier chewing.
Groom your pal regularly. Keep the teeth clean (if possible), check the ears, skin and coat for irregularities. Be sure to keep everything flea-free and avoid harsh chemicals.
If calling fails, try clapping your hands to get your dogs attention.