It’s no secret I have a soft spot for older pets. The soulful eyes, gray muzzles, and slow amble just gets me every time. And, whether or not your aging dog is still going strong, senior pet life should celebrate your time together and give you amazing memories or things to look forward to.  

small terrier dog tilting her head at camera kelly j. Russo photography

Bucket lists can be a really fun and engaging way to enjoy your time together, create more memories and preserve them. But here’s the key - the bucket list for an aging dog should improve both your and their quality of life. 

Typically bucket lists are filled with food and fun things like skydiving, traveling, or eating a big expensive dinner at a famous restaurant. And while some people might do these things with their dog, they can be too much for an aging pet.  

big shaggy dog sitting at sunset in houston

When making your bucket list or picking things off your list, consider:  

  • Mobility: Older pets just can't get around like they used to and they also tire more quickly.
  • Temperament: Take your dog's personality in mind when you're planning their Bucket List. New places, sounds and smells can be scary for them.
  • Overall health: Make sure your pup is able to participate and the activity does add undue stress.
  • If they’re having a good day or a bad day: Pets have good days and bad days just like us. If they're having a rough day, best to keep them as comfortable as possible in familiar surroundings. Don't force them to do something the don't want to do.

The bucket list is a way to enhance their quality of life and to share special moments together as your pet ages. Let your pet guide you on what they can and cannot do!  

senior dog smiling at camera in houston kelly j. russo photography

Without further ado, here are 5 activities to try with your aging dog!

  1. A Pet Photography Session. A professional photo session is not only a beautiful experience, it also will help you feel close to your pet once they cross the Rainbow Bridge. I cherish all photos of my dogs, but looking back, I wish I had more taken of me with my past dogs. Having pictures enlarged and framed to relive great memories is a fun way to style your home, and preserve them for years to come.  
  2. A Bougie Feast. A paw-licking feast is a great way to show your pet love. Gizelle, a Mastiff, traveled to Maine to eat fresh lobster and donuts. Be sure to consider your dog's health here and consult a medical professional before feeding anything new, but a special meal, especially photographed, can be a great memory-builder. Just be sure - Check in with your vet if you’re in doubt! 
  3. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset Together. At the beach, from the countryside, or anywhere else with a clear view should work. It’s a great time to just be there, with each other.  
  4. Go on a Picnic Date. It could be just the fam and your pet, or invite a few others to tag along. A picnic is a novelty and fun for all. You don’t have to go far. Your backyard - or even your living room - might be the perfect spot.
  5. Spend a Day Letting Them be the Boss. Can you give your pet total control for the day? Pick a special day and let them do what they want.