Is Your Senior Dog Happy?

All dogs age differently, depending on the breed, size, family history and/or the individual. It’s important to know your dog’s health and provide them with tips and tricks to enjoy their senior days in comfort.

Be Educated.
Each breed is prone to various diseases over time (Heart/cardiac disease, dental disease, airway problems and/or cancer). Get to know the breed history and discuss with your veterinarian what you can do for preventative health care.

Nutrition is the foundation of good health.
Providing a well-balanced and nutritional diet will reflect their bodily functions and overall health. When choosing their pet food, it’s important to get to know the pet food brand, the quality ingredients they use and their safety protocols. As your dog gets older, the requirements are changing as well. Ask your veterinarian what pet food they recommend and which pet food company they trust.

Spa day at the groomer.
For older dogs, it might be more difficult for them to stay clean when going outside. It’s important to keep their back-end groomed short to prevent feces from being stuck. Long and curled nails can cause pain and discomfort for dogs when walking.

Prevention is key.
As dogs get older, especially early to mid-adulthood, it’s important to talk with your veterinarian about preventative health treatments. This includes supplements, diet and activities, medication and/or procedures (dentistry, laser/hydro/acupuncture/physical therapy…)

Get moving!
Senior dogs may slow down over the year, but they still need exercise. We recommend short walks, or we like to call it a casual stroll, maybe 1-2 times a day to get those joints moving. Not only is exercise beneficial for good health, but it also provides mental stimulation too.

Protect your four-legged friends.
As they get older, their bodies might have difficulty keeping warm during winter and stay cool during summer. It’s important to provide blankets, coats and booties, and heating mats during winter months, and plenty of shade, cold water, cooling jackets, and possibly a good swim for those water-loving dogs on a hot summer day.

Lots of Love.
Senior dogs can often be forgotten in the day to day busy routine. Although it’s important to give them much deserved quality play and bonding time with their owners.

Other tips and tricks for senior dog owners:

  • Multiple thick, comfy, and preferably slightly elevated beds.
  • Various elevated food dished.
  • Doggy staircase to prevent jumping.
  • Heat source (blanket or heating pad) for arthritic pets.
  • Provide food and water on all levels of your home.
  • Monitor for lumps.
  • Monitor behavioural changes.
  • Talk with your veterinarian! Create a plan.
  • Give them Love!

Written by: Monica Blanchard, RVT