care for your senior dog

5 Ways to Care for an Aging Dog

If your pup has lost a bit of their pep, or their coat has begun to turn gray, they’ve likely entered the senior stage of their life. While it varies by breed, small dogs are considered to be senior citizens at the age of 11, while their larger canine counterparts reach seniority at about age 7. 

To help catch health issues faster and keep your older pet in the best shape possible, we found five adjustments you’ll want to make to your care routine to best cater to your aging dog’s health and wellness. 

1. Keep Them Active

Now more than ever, exercise and activity are essential for your dog’s health. Despite the common belief that older dogs are just “slowing down,” it could be a sign that your older dog is just in pain and is having trouble moving around at the speed they used to.

On the contrary, active dogs not only tend to be thinner, but also have higher metabolisms, which helps in warding off painful arthritis – a common symptom of aging.

And while we’re on the topic of metabolisms…

2. Rethink Their Diet

Proper nutrition plays a major role in maintaining your aging dog’s health. With lower energy levels, senior dogs are at a greater risk of developing obesity, so it’s imperative to get your dog a food that is specially designed for seniors.

Senior dog food is often lower in fat and calories to help prevent weight gain while fueling up your elder dog with the vitamins and nutrients they need.

3. Set Up Semi-Annual Vet Visits

Once your dog reaches senior age, it’s recommended to increase their annual vet visits from once to twice a year. By doing so, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) notes you’ll establish better baselines of your pet’s health with your vet, ensuring any abnormalities or minor concerns are caught sooner rather than later.

4. Care for Their Aching Joints

With old age comes achy joints and muscles. To help with inflammation, you can administer a few daily vitamins and supplements, including CBD oil (just be sure to run it by your vet first!).

And, to offer your aging dog’s bones some relief, comfy bedding, warm blankets or a heating pad, and even a dog massage will help! As Dr. Morgan explains to the folks at Chewy, in addition to feeling good, a pup massage soothes knots and increases blood flow to the muscles and joints.

5. Help With Their Handicaps

As your dog ages, they’ll likely experience changes to their bodies, including hearing and vision loss, slower and decreased mobility, and changes in energy levels. The best thing you can do for your pup is adjust to their new needs and cater to them as best as you can.

This means, if they’re experiencing hearing or vision loss, do your best to keep the environment calm and relaxing so they don’t get startled. If your dog is having a difficult time walking up and down stairs, try to confine their belongings (bedding, toys, bowls) to one floor so they don’t have to endure pain while moving around. You can also purchase pet ramps and stairs to help them make it up onto the couch or bed without needing to jump, eliminating strain on their joints. 

Remember, just because your dog reaches a certain age doesn’t mean they’ll start to decline overnight. Just like people, the aging process for dogs is gradual, so by monitoring their health and making a few changes in the way you care for them, you can ensure your dog lives out their remaining years as happy and as comfortable as possible.   

Have an opinion or comment? Let us know below!

3 thoughts on “5 Ways to Care for an Aging Dog”

  1. Beverley Bishop

    I have had 2 wonderful litter mate Siberian Huskies for 15 yrs & just lost one of them to old age. I think the secret was activity and maintaining a pleasant daily routine. The other one is still doing well. The Vet says the daily walks and exercise has kept them going.

  2. Great article I know was about dogs but applies to cats too I’ve had two 22 year old kitties lost one in April had a 18 1/2 my mom has a 16 now we had another 16 so iv e been blessed but it’s a combination of love vet care giving them the best of everything and good food and exercise and being safe and loved of course wish they all were still here or go when I go but not eat it is but I know I did everything I could I even say they ate better than i did haha! My one in April who was 22 was so hard of course I Carried him to vet in his bed talked to him held him entire time as vet gave him the first sedative and held him when gave second one to send him to heaven was so quick but held him entire time talked to him and brought him home shortly after the vet had closed had a private pet cremation company come my house later but I bought him home Carried him in let me other two kitties grieve too stayed with him until they can I put him with his bed few toys letter from me in the coffin gave him a kiss watched them drive away with my boy I lost it got him privately cremated his marble urn retuned to me less than 24 hours he is in same one with his best buddy the 18 1/2 year old mentioned above . We all grieve different but I sure hope someday I get taken care of with love and kindness I do for my animals they deserve to be treated like kings and queens not like some these stories of abuse we hear everyday but goes show you what great love care food vet care does for someone!!

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