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Helping Your Senior Dog Age Comfortably

Black labrador retriever dog on a walk. Dog in the nature. Senior dog behind grass and forest. Old dog happy outside banner

Helping Your Senior Dog Age Comfortably

Whether you adopted a senior dog, or your four-legged friend has grown old with you, it can be tricky to admit when he isn’t as energetic or as active as he used to be. Aging is a normal part of life, and at some point, all dogs will get older and become seniors. As our dogs grow into this life stage, their care requirements will begin to change, such as their exercise routine and diet. You may find your dog is walking at a slower pace or is finding it difficult to leap onto the sofa like he once could. All these changes are completely normal, but it’s important to know how to adapt to them to ensure your dog is happy and healthy.

Giving lots of love and care to our senior dogs is one of the best ways to help them transition into the senior years, and paying attention to what they need and making adjustments is very important to ensure they are comfortable. Here, we have gathered our top tips and some simple changes you can make in your home to help your dog adjust into becoming a senior.

Changes to the Home

Changes like using a dog ramp to help your pup get up and down from the car or an elevated dog bowl to eliminate excess strain on his head and neck can really help your aging doggie. Always keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort such as limping, difficulty changing position, trouble getting up the stairs or jumping, and lying down when eating or drinking—all of which suggest that your dog will need to take a visit to the vet.

Investing in a good bed is also important for when your dog reaches his golden years. A thermal dog bed can assist a senior dog with problems regarding stiffness and joints. Beds such as SCRUFFS Thermal Box Bed and the SCRUFFS Thermal Ring Bed is a warm pet bed that is ideal for pets who suffer from arthritis or other joint problems. Each bed contains a foam layer, backed with reflective foil, keeping your pet warm.

You can also place a heated pad or mat into your dog’s bed for a similar effect, such as the PETLIFE Hottie Microwaveable Heat Pad. The gentle, moderate warmth is ideal to aid recovery and to reduce stress after a visit to the vet or kennels, and eases aches and pains in cats, dogs and other small pets.

Dogs who suffer with conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint or circulation problems will also benefit from an orthopaedic or memory foam bed which they can get in and out of easily, like the M-PETS Oleron Memory Foam Mattress, which provides your dog with extra support and comfort.

TRIXIE Petwalk Expanding Pet Ramp

Healthcare

Senior dogs may begin to lose their vision or hearing. Avoid moving around furniture if your dog’s eyesight is failing, as this once-familiar environment could turn into an obstacle for him.

If your dog isn’t responding to your commands like he once did, this may be a sign of hearing loss. Little  can be done to prevent deafness, but it is possible to help your dog adapt. They can feel vibrations on the floor as you approach as well as being able to interpret hand signals for communication.

When out on walks, be extra careful with dogs who cannot see or hear well, as they can get easily get lost and wander into trouble!

Periodontal disease is very common in older dogs and if ignored, it can become very serious, so regular mouth and teeth inspections are important. Brush his teeth regularly with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste.

senior dog looking at kibble in a bowl

Review Their Diet

Vet Carol Doyle recommends moving to a senior dog food formula as your dog reaches his golden years. “These will have been developed with lower calorie levels and a careful balance of other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants to support your dog’s ageing joints and immune system,” she says. She added, “Your dog will probably be used to being fed twice a day, although as they reach their senior years, they may prefer smaller portions more often. Always follow the recommended feeding guide for the brand you are choosing to feed, and use a digital scales to measure portion size for your dog.”

Keep Moving

Make sure you take them out for a walk every day; sometimes, two five minute walks are better than one long, ten minute walk. Go at your dog’s pace and stop when they need to stop. Try to keep to a familiar route (especially if they’re very old) and if you feel your dog needs one, take a break.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, which is in fact, false! Training your older dog new commands is a great way to keep their mind active. As with all other activities, keep it short, know when your dog is finished, and be patient-they can learn new tricks, but it may take them a bit longer than when they were a puppy! For more tips on exercising your older dog, see our blog post here.

Grooming Tips

Grooming is an essential part of your dog’s health and wellbeing, and is even more critical as they grow older. Often, underlying health conditions your senior pup may be susceptible to can be spotted by investigating the skin and coat. Lumps, bumps, growths and skin irritations can be revealed in a grooming session, either by yourself or by your Professional Groomer.

Professional Dog Groomer Michelle Walsh says to “always make sure to check your brushes and combs to determine that they are in good condition and not damaged. Broken or bent brush teeth can scratch the skin or cause coat breakage.” If you’re uncertain to what type of brush or comb your dog needs, contact your local Petmania Grooming Studio and one of our Professional Groomers will be more than happy to assist you.

Watch for signs of discomfort or pain when grooming your senior dog. Older dogs may not be able to stand as long they once could, so make sure to very slowly and carefully adjust to a more comfortable position. Don’t keep him in the grooming seat too long; it is more ideal to work on your dog for 10 minutes at a time, a few days a week than to expect him to endure longer grooming sessions.

If you notice them slipping and sliding in the bath or on the table when you’re grooming them, consider using a non-slip mat that will secure their footing. This will especially help them if they have arthritis or mobility issues.

small corgi getting washed in grooming studio, looking very happy

Senior Dog Care

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