Aging is a natural process for all animals, but the senior dog stage of life doesn’t have to be a painful time for your loved one. With TLC and quality home care, your pup can truly thrive during their golden years.
For bigger breeds, you’ll likely start to see signs of aging and, as a result, need to make adjustments for your dog between the ages of 7 to 10. For smaller dogs, this life change typically takes place in the mid to late teens.
Note that your dog’s health should not change dramatically overnight, as aging-related issues develop gradually over time. If any sudden problems do arise, seek medical attention immediately.
Below, find out the common issues that affect senior dogs and how you can manage them at home. Be sure to discuss these lifestyle changes with your vet and remember, now that your dog is a senior, it’s recommended to schedule at least two checkups a year.
Senior dog issue: Changes in elimination
Solutions for the home: As your dog ages, they may have to go more often. If your schedule doesn’t allow for taking your pet out on a more frequent basis, consider getting a dog walker, helping your dog transition to using doggie diapers or pee pads between bathroom trips outside, or keeping your senior pup in an area of the home where messes won’t be a hassle to clean up.
Senior dog issue: Painful movements, difficulty navigating
Solutions for the home: Slowing down, playing less often, and having less energy is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean your dog has to live in discomfort. Does your dog have a hard time climbing to her or his favorite resting places, taking the stairs, or shifting from one position to another? Has routine walking around the house become more of a challenge?
While medications, therapies, exercises, or other treatments may be recommended, senior pet products, such as dog stairs for accessing furniture and other harder-to-reach places, booties for avoiding slips and falls, slings and harnesses for providing support, and an orthopedic mattress or waterbed can also help.
- Carpeting and rugs can help make walking around the house more comfortable.
- Long nails could cause painful walking, so make it a routine to keep those trim.
- Ensure sure food and water can still be easily accessed and that no other pets in the home are getting to all the food and water first.
Senior dog issue: Hearing and vision loss
Solution for the home: Troubles getting around the house may also arise from failing sight and hearing. To address this try to keep your dog’s surroundings familiar, and clutter- and obstacle-free.
Senior Dog Issue: Sensitivity to cold, heat, and humidity
Solution for the home: Outdoor dogs may need to transition to being indoor dogs as seniors, especially during bad-weather days. Keep extra bedding around, doggie sweaters on hand, and the temperatures warm on chilly days. On hot, humid days, make sure your pal doesn’t get overheated.
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