Large dogs require special care as they age faster and have a shorter lifespan compared to medium and mini breeds. You’ll need to take extra care if you are planning to adopt a senior dog of a large breed.
Senior large breed dogs are one of the most wonderful pets to adopt. They are loving, comforting, and extremely loyal. Senior dogs often display litters of puppies in their golden years. However, adopting an old dog is a big commitment. You will have to ensure that you have enough time and energy for what can be an aging pet with changing physical and emotional needs. With this in mind, here are some things to consider before adopting a senior large breed dog.
Invest in High-Quality Dog Food
High-quality dog food is essential for all dogs, but it's necessary when you have a senior large breed dog. It is because all the nutrients your senior dog needs to stay healthy are harder to digest as they age, unlike a large breed puppy. As a result, you'll need to find a food with higher levels of those nutrients and fewer fillers than regular foods.
To ensure that the dog food you're considering gives your senior large breed dog everything they need, check out the ingredient list on its packaging. If there's any cornmeal in there, pass on this product. Cornmeals are fillers and can cause digestive issues in dogs with sensitive stomachs like yours. Also, keep an eye out for unnecessary ingredients like sugar or artificial sweeteners. They're not great for anyone but awful for older animals who might have trouble processing them correctly (and could even get sick from them).
If possible, try finding one of those fancy brands with all sorts of added vitamins and minerals but only if those extra elements are 0suitable for your pup. Because sometimes adding extras doesn't mean that much once they get inside them anyway. And finally, don't forget about size considerations. If this isn't something we consider ourselves, then why should our dogs?
Invest in a Dog Ramp
A ramp is a must-have tool for any senior large breed dog owner. The best use of a ramp is to help your pup get in and out of bed. However, it also comes in handy to help your pet get into the car quickly. You can purchase one at a local pet store or online, and they're pretty affordable, usually only around $20-$40. Ramps are accessible for even the youngest member of your family to use. All required are simple instructions on assembling them correctly and then placing them where needed.
If you want something even more convenient than purchasing an actual ramp, consider using an old blanket or towel instead! It works great if you don't want to buy anything new but still need an easy way for your dog to climb up onto things like beds or couches/chairs without jumping (since this can cause joint pain).
Provide Easy Access to Bathtub or Sink
Several ways make it easier for your dog to get in and out of the bathtub. A ramp is one option, but it may not be accessible if you're afraid your dog will slip on it. A better option might be a non-slip mat that stretches across the tub or shower stall's flooring so that he can have traction while getting in and out of the water.
It would be best if you also thought about making sure your pet can get into the sink without any problems so he can drink from there when necessary. To do this, consider buying a dog bowl stand or two elevated dog bowls, one for his regular food bowl and another for drinking water. This way, they won't accidentally knock over his water bowl when trying to eat.
As much as possible, try not to let senior dogs sleep or eat directly next to toilets; it's too easy for them to slip off their perch onto hard tile floors below. Instead, you might choose a bed placed somewhere else in the house where there's no chance of falling off. The same goes if possible with eating meals as well.
Get a Larger, Extra Supportive Bed
A dog bed should be large enough to accommodate your new pal's size. You can look for dog beds specifically designed for large dogs or purchase a larger dog bed and have it customized by adding extra padding. If the dog is spending time in their room at night, consider purchasing an orthopedic dog bed for them as well. It will help keep them comfortable and provide extra support when sleeping alone.
When shopping around for large dog beds, look for ones made of supporting material like memory foam or shredded foam so that it doesn't sink through after multiple uses. The fabric should also be easy to clean if accidents occur; waterproof covers are great options here. Beds with removable covers should ideally come with washable covers (and all beds should come with washable pads underneath). Finally, think about whether or not this bed is easy enough that you can move it around without getting tired too quickly. Most senior dogs won't mind being shuffled around, but younger ones might not like having their home changed about too often.
Make Your Home Safe for a Senior Large Breed Dog
You'll want to modify your home to make it safer for your senior large breed dog. You can also make it more comfortable, but safety is the priority. Here are some things you should do to make sure you are ready for a large dog:
Make sure furniture can't fall over on top of your dog. For example, don't let them sleep under an end table or recliner that could topple over, even if they are small enough to fit in. And consider getting rid of tall and heavy pieces altogether; a senior dog doesn't need a fancy sofa or upholstered chairs with tassels hanging from their arms. These items are just too dangerous at this point in their lives.
Keep garbage cans out of reach so there's no way for your dog to get into them and eat something toxic or choke on plastic packaging from inside them (this includes recyclables). This one may seem obvious, but if you've ever had a puppy who thought everything was fun chew toy material, you know how quickly things change once we grow up.
Put away breakables such as glasses, figurines, and vases whenever possible so there's nothing to chew on when they get bored with his soft toys (which will happen eventually). Make sure these items aren't within jumping distance since puppies love jumping up onto couches/beds/dressers/whatever else seems like fun.
Get a large dog crate to create a safe space for your new dog. A crate ensures that your senior large breed dog has space it can retreat to when you are not around.
Accommodate Their Bowls
You'll need to ensure the dog bowls you choose are big enough for your new dog to eat and drink from. The general rule of thumb is that food needs to be at least 6" away from the sides of the bowl, but it can be larger depending on your dog.
The heavier the bowl, the better it will stay in place. Many dogs tend to knock their bowls over when they get excited or emotional, so a heavy one will prevent them from doing this as often.
Also, ensure no parts can be chewed off and eaten by your new puppy. If you have a large breed dog who chews the food and destroys anything, it's probably best to buy metal dishes because plastic ones will get ruined quickly. For a large breed senior dog, you should also consider investing in a dog bowl stand so that they have comfortable access to the food and water without bending too much.
Do Not Adopt a Senior Large Breed Dog if You Are a First-Time Dog Owner
If you are a first-time dog owner, it may be best to adopt a small breed or medium-sized dog. Large and giant breeds have special needs that require extra care and attention, and as a first-time owner, you may not have the time or money to provide these things. If you decide to adopt an older large breed dog, make sure that other family members or friends can help with exercise and grooming tasks like using dog nail clippers or dog nail grinders so that your dog gets enough exercise daily and is groomed.
If you want to adopt an older large breed dog but don't think the above applies directly to your situation (for example: if multiple people in your household will be able to help out with exercising), go right ahead. You can still provide plenty of love and care for your senior canine companion without covering all possible responsibilities.
Do Not Adopt a Senior Large Breed Dog Unless You Can Afford the Care
If you think taking care of a senior large breed dog will be cheap, think again. The cost of veterinary care for a dog can run into thousands of dollars. If your pet requires extensive medical care and does not have insurance, or if the vet bills are going to be too expensive for you, then it's best not to adopt such a dog. Your wallet, bank account, and heart will thank you later.
If this sounds like something that might apply to your situation, make sure you have plenty of time to take care of any issues that may arise from adopting an older animal (such as emergency surgery). You also should try to make arrangements with friends or family members who can help if needed; after all, it's always better to be prepared. Also, prepare a first aid kit for dogs, including antibiotics for dogs, antibiotics for dog ear infections, flea and tick medicine for dogs, and more.
Remember There are Special Considerations for Senior Dogs, Especially Large Breeds
As you might imagine, there are special considerations for adopting senior dogs of any size, especially larger breeds. Seniority, in this case, isn't a matter of years; it's a measurement of physical health and mobility. These dogs may look healthy, but they may need more care than younger dogs do.
Senior dogs have special needs: Older large breed dogs need lots of love and attention to keep them healthy, happy, and active. Make sure you're prepared for their unique needs before you adopt one so that your new pup has all the support they need throughout their life.
Senior dogs have particular health issues: As our pets age, their bodies start changing subtly, affecting how they live with us or how we take care of them daily. Because these changes are gradual, it's essential to understand what might be happening so we can prepare accordingly.
Senior Dogs Have Special Behavior Issues: The longer our beloved furry friends stay with us in our homes (and homes away from home), the more likely they'll develop quirks and habits which sometimes become habits over time, just like humans do when they get older too.
It's not easy to adopt a senior large breed dog. They often don't do well in shelters, which means they may have been overlooked or abused before you found them. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, adopting a senior large breed dog is rewarding and worth every penny. If you are considering adopting one of these beautiful animals, then we hope this guide has helped provide some guidance on what to consider before bringing them into your home.