Senior Dog's Need These Care Tips

Posted by Maureen Lake at

Your Senior Dog Needs These Special TipsTips for Senior Dogs

We discussed this over delicious lobster rolls and a shared diet coke while visiting Boston last week. “How do you know when your dog is a senior citizen and what can I do to help her”? This topic isn’t an easy one. I don’t like thinking about Keira as a senior dog, but the clock is ticking for all of us. Let's face it. Senior dogs have different care requirements than younger dogs. And, to make matters worse, dogs age different depending on size and breed. That doesn’t seem fair at all but it’s the sad truth. Giant breed dogs like a Great Dane are considered senior by 5-6 years old, whereas a Chihuahua is considered middle age. A Golden Retriever or a Labradoodle, like Keira, is considered a senior by 8-10 years. To compound this sad fact is that genetics, nutrition, and environment all play a part in how fast your dog ages.

Tips for senior dogs

What you need to do for your senior dog…
  • Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian. Keira’s vet wants to see her every 6 months and I remind myself as I’m pulling out my credit card that it’s much cheaper to prevent disease than to treat it!
  • Ask for a body condition evaluation and ask your vet to show you how to evaluate your dog at home. I regularly check Keira’s ribs and quickly realize when I need to reduce the amount of food I give her. This simple technique works for her.
  • Feed your dog high-quality food and use this food to keep your senior at his ideal body weight.
  • Fortify your dog’s diet with fatty acids and/or supplements like Glucosamine and chondroitin. I’ve just started chondroitin with Keira because sometimes she gets up from the floor with a slight limp- the beginning of arthritis.
  • Brush your dog's teeth or give her dental treats and toys to keep her teeth clean
  • Exercise your senior dog. You want to be lean and enjoy healthy joints right? Well, so does your dog. Start off slow if your dog has been a couch potato for a while and understand, what is a short walk for a large breed dog is a long walk for your pocket pup.
  • Playtime is fun and necessary for your senior dog. Play with toys, puzzles, and other dogs. Play is needed for cognitive stimulation, weight loss and bonding.
  • Accommodations might be needed as your best friend ages. You know how you love your sleep number bed? Well, your dog would love a comfy bed too, especially if she suffers from arthritis or creaky joints.

Tips for senior dogs

By the time I finished eating my lobster roll and ordered another diet, it was pretty clear this topic was a sad and lonely one. No one wants to think about his or her dog aging. These tips and talking to your veterinarian will help with acceptance and understanding during this passage of time in your dog's life.

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  • I am so partial to senior pets. We have 3 and lost one last month. Your tips are right on! I think comfortable bedding for an aging dog is important on their sore joints.

    Andy's Paw Prints on
  • I’m relaly into it, thanks for this great stuff!

    Avol on
  • It really is a little sad to think of our pets as seniors, especially since they have such a short lifespan in comparison to ours. My girl Phoebe is 8 now and I hate thinking of her as a senior dog. These are important tips on caring for senior dogs.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Cathy Armato on
  • Great tips

    Ruth and Layla on
  • We just started giving Mr. N a joint supplement but otherwise we haven’t made any changes. He got a good bill of health from the vet though recently.

    Tenacious Little Terrier on

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