Tips for Caring for Senior Dogs

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


I really am a certified pro when it comes to senior dogs anymore, so I started thinking about putting a post together with some tips that can help others care for their ageing dogs without having to learn lessons the hard way.  Sometimes all it takes is one fall down a step for an emergency vet visit to drain your wallet.  So here are some tips to keep in mind when caring for senior dogs.

Always visit your vet at least once a year. 
This is a great way for your vet to inspect and note any changes in your dog.  This is an important time for you to let them know of any changes you've noticed as well in your day to day life with your dog.  Your vet can run tests or bloodwork if necessary to see if the major organs are all functioning prooperly. 
Think of mobility.
Even if you're dog seems to do fine with their mobility, that can change fast.  If you notice your dog slips on the hardwood floor or has a hard time keeping their balance, consider area rugs or runner rugs in certain areas.  Does your dog jump up and down off the furniture? That can be hard on the joints, so if you have a small bread, consider doggie steps.  If you have a large breed, make sure there's some sort of soft landing underneath like a rug.
Grooming is still important. 
It's extra important as your dog ages to keep up with their grooming especially with their nails.  Make sure you also check their skin regularly for any changes.  Sometimes an elderly dog will begin to have skin issues that can be very uncomfortable so it's important to keep a close eye. 
Cut back on physical activity if necessary.
While walking your dog everyday is fun, if it seems to become a struggle for them, consider walking in grass instead of pavement, or making your walks shorter.   

Notice any dietary changes.
If hard kibble is more difficult for your senior dog, consider adding water to soften it a few minutes before serving it. If your dog seems to be more sensitive to a certain food even if they've been on it for years, talk to your vet about switching to a different protein source. Make sure you change from regular adult food to senior dog food as it contains things that cater to senior dog needs like joint health.  

Be patient.
Accidents may happen as a dog ages and there's no need to punish them for it. Most dogs know they've done something wrong, but they can't help that they couldn't make it to the door or the potty pad.  Be patient with your dog, just as you would a grandparent.  

Save money.
Make sure you are setting money aside for pet expenses and vet care as well as considering what it may cost you when your pet comes to the end of their life.  The last thing you want during a tough time like that is trying to make a decision that won't hurt your finances.  Consider in home euthanasia (if the situation allows for it eventually) for a dog that doesn't enjoy car rides or going to the vet.  

Be gentle.
Remember to treat them with care as they are getting older and sometimes things hurt them that they used to enjoy.  Spend lots of time giving your dog attention even if it's just laying on the couch with them.  They've been loyal their whole life and they deserve the same love back. 

I hope some of these tips help you as your dogs become seniors. 

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