Taking Good Care of Senior Dogs

Older dogs are like older people, they need a bit extra care and attention. The difference is that different breeds of dogs become old at varying ages. For Instance, larger dogs tend to age more quickly so something like a Great Dane will be senior by the time they reach about 5 or 6. For smaller breeds, such as a miniature Yorkshire terrier, that would be the time they reach middle age and would probably not be considered a senior until they are 10 or 11.

There are other things that can affect how fast your dog ages though, such as genetics, environment, and nutrition.

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The Signs Of Becoming Senior

We all know that as a dog grows out of the puppy stage their character changes. The same happens again when they become senior, but it can be so gradual you may not notice it to start with. They will tire more easily, not want to run and play so much and may start to find stairs a problem.

They may develop arthritis or some other health problems that mean they cannot walk so far. They will not cope with extremes of temperatures so well and their favorite pastime will be sleeping. Older dogs tend to put weight on and this can exasperate any health conditions. That could be different if they develop dental problems though. Then they could have difficulty eating and will lose weight, as well as their fur starting to look unkempt.

They will still be perfectly happy and just as loving, but will not be as active anymore.

Visit The Vet

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Even healthy dogs should see have vet once a year at least. It is far cheaper to prevent a health problem than it is to treat one ad your dog’s vet will be able to take a close look at the condition they are in. They will know if they have gained or lost any weight or if they are in the early stages of any other health problems.

Watch Their Diet

The older a dog gets the harder it is for them to digest their food. They should eat things that are appropriate for their age. Overweight dogs are prone to heart disease, cancer diabetes and skin diseases. It is a fine balance to make sure they get all the nutrients they need while maintaining a healthy diet that they can digest. Grain free dog foods, which help to control appetite to prevent obesity, can be a useful addition to a senior dogs diet, as these grain free dog food articles will attest. It may take them a while to adjust, but persevere and you’ll be doing them a real favor.

Cut down on the number of treats they have. Perhaps their daily chew could become half of one so they do not feel deprived. Keeping the carbohydrates low will help to maintain a healthier weight, and if you are concerned at all about the best way to feed them, ask your vet for advice.

Dental Care

You should try to brush your dog’s teeth a couple of times a week to help keep their mouth healthy. If you cannot do this then make sure the treats and toys they have are of the type that is meant to keep your dogs mouth in a good condition.

Always make sure there is plenty of fresh water for them to drink as well. It will not just help to keep them hydrated, but it will make the job of cleaning their mouth easier.


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Although senior dogs will slow down, exercise is just as important as when they were young. Their walks may be shorter and take longer if they have developed a problem with their joints, as an example, but they still need to go.

Look out for the weather as well. Extreme heat will affect them no matter how old they are, and the pavements can burn their paws. When the weather is really hot try to walk them in the early mornings or evenings when it is a bit cooler.

Make Them Comfortable

An older dog, particularly if they have developed some pains in their limbs from arthritis, will benefit from some soft bedding. It will be easier for them to sleep if they have a nice soft bed.

If you have slippy floors, consider laying a few rugs, as these can make it easier for an older dog to get around the home. If there are some steps that cannot be avoided, consider putting a ramp for the dog to use.

Because a dog has become senior does not mean they have not got many years left in them. They could still be around for quite a while yet, and you just need to make whatever time they have as easy as possible for them.

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