Aging happens to us all, even our four-legged family members. It is a normal part of life, and just like us, needs begin to change and alter as our dogs' age.
Even though older years come with less mobility, less energy, and potentially some sight and hearing loss, this does not mean your senior dog cannot live their golden years happy, healthy and fulfilled.
It is important to note that being classed as ‘senior’ isn’t the same for all dogs. It depends on breed, size and their own traits. As a rule of thumb, however, small breeds are considered senior around 10-11 years, medium-sized breeds 8-10 years and large breeds 5-6 years old.
This is hugely important for your senior dog. Their stomachs may become more sensitive, they are less active and more at risk of being overweight (more on that below) and they need extra vitamins and minerals to keep them strong and healthy.
Our Naturo Senior Variety Pack contains only natural ingredients and 60% Turkey, Chicken or Duck. It also has Glucosamine and Chondroitin added for their joints and the aches and pains that come with aging.
As mentioned above, your senior dog may have less energy and ability to be as active as they were before. This can lead to the risk of gaining some extra weight they did not have before.
Keeping up with regular light exercise such as walks and playing around the house (check our previous blog here for some game tips) but keeping in mind their ability.
You can talk to your vet about getting a specific exercise program to suit your dog’s individual needs and limitations.
Regular visits to the vet
As your dog ages, their immune system weakens and just like us humans, they become more prone to illnesses. Visit your vet every 6 months to make sure everything is ok and that your pet is as healthy as they can be.
Your senior dog will not need vaccinations as regularly as they would have when they were younger, but this is something to be decided by your vet.
It is important to note that you should continue your own flea, tick and worm protection as this does not change with age.
Grooming & Oral Health
With aging, your dog’s coat can become dull and brittle, and their skin dry, flaky and irritated. This will only get worse if not properly looked after.
Brushing your dog regularly and using natural products to help their skin and coat will help too. We would also recommend regular trips to your dog groomer, so they are getting the extra pampering they deserve – and need!
Dental care is also an important part of grooming and should be started as a puppy. If your dog is not a fan of having their teeth washed every day, make sure to use dental sticks. You should also get a professional cleaning from the vet every 6 months – just like our regular trips to the dentist!
Adjust their surroundings
As mentioned above, joints, bones, sight, and hearing can deteriorate in senior dogs. It is important that you adjust your home to accommodate their new needs.
Soft bedding that does not require your dog to jump on and off is recommended. If it is possible, it is recommended to avoid your dog using stairs regularly if they are having difficulty going up and down them.
If your dog is losing their sight, moving furniture will cause them to bump into objects a lot – so if possible, it is best to avoid rearranging rooms they are in regularly!
Good old-fashioned quality time
We love and adore our dogs and want them to know this. As they age, they may become more anxious about being alone and want reassurance that you are around – even if they cannot see or hear you, your presence is comforting.
Our best friends love walks, playing with us, and treats (oh yes – the treats!). Continue to spend as much quality time as you can with your best friend, they will appreciate it more than we know.