Dogs are lifelong friends.
They’re with us through thick and thin, over the years of our lives. But as they grow older, you might notice them undergo certain changes. They’ll run around and play with us a lot less. But underneath all the greying fur, our pups are exactly the same as they were years ago - just with some small changes!
At this stage, our dogs are reaching the senior stage of their life. What can you do to help older dogs live a happy and healthy life? How do you care for older dogs?
Is My Dog a Senior Dog?
Surprisingly, a healthy dog’s size can affect when they reach senior status. The larger the dog, the “faster” they seem to age.
A rough rule of thumb:
- Small dogs: 11 years old and above
- Medium dogs: 10 years old and above
- Large dogs: 8 years old and above
Aside from using your dog’s actual age, it’s also a good idea to look out for common signs of ageing, including:
- Loss of vision/hearing
- Decrease in energy level
- Weight gain
- Arthritis/joint problems
- Loss of muscle tone/teeth/organ health
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Loss of Hair
While your dog’s age does affect their senior status, it’s still possible to have a relatively young dog that exhibits signs of ageing!
So what can you do to help your pup navigate seniorhood?
#1 Keep a Closer Eye on Them
As our pups grow older, it’s more and more important to watch out for changes in their behaviour. How they act day to day is a big sign of their overall health and wellbeing!
Most importantly, watch out for changes in the following:
- Their mood
- Appetite/Consumption pattern
- Sleeping pattern
- Water consumption
- Bowel movements/Urination
- Cognitive Health
It’s also important to do regular checks for changes in your dog’s physical condition. Look out for lumps and bumps where they shouldn’t be, as well as changes in your dog’s fur and general size/weight.
If your pup experiences any huge fluctuations in any of the above, make sure to get them to a veterinarian for a proper health checkup!
#2 Make Appropriate Changes
With senior dogs, there are a few important changes you should make in their diet and lifestyle.
First and foremost, older dogs have different dietary requirements. They’re much less active and therefore need fewer calories. It’s also important to manage your pup’s weight through their diet as obesity can lead to many health issues.
Getting specially formulated dog food for seniors like Wellness Core Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food is a great way to manage your dog’s diet with less hassle. To help with specific health issues, supplements like Dr. Mercola Eye Support Supplements for Dogs contains the best and most important ingredients known for dog’s eyes health. For hip and joint support, try Wholistic Pet Organics Canine Complete Joint Mobility Dog Supplement that provides key nutraceuticals that are especially important in older dogs.
Next, older dogs can be more sensitive to temperature. Their body becomes less able to regulate their internal temperature - so if you’re bringing your healthy dog out for a walk, make sure to check the temperature! Cold temperatures can cause your pup’s joints to seize up, causing discomfort.
Getting a nice and cozy bed like FuzzYard’s Reversible Dog Bed can also help keep your dog warm and comfortable. In hot and sunny Singapore, many of us keep our air conditioning on, especially at night. To prep your senior dog for it, get your dog a comfy sweater, which can also be as badass looking as this Zee Dog’s Mafia Dog Sweater!
Older dogs often experience a loss of cognitive ability - they may forget things like how to navigate around the house, or may go to the toilet where they shouldn’t. To make it easier for your dog, make sure they have easy access to their food, water and toilet area! Alternatively, try Dundies Reusable and Washable Nappy for less stress and mess.
#3 Keep a Schedule
Although your dog has less energy than before, it’s still important to keep up a proper exercise schedule. That said, make sure to only give your dog exercise they can handle. While your dog will still need regular walks, keep them short!
For dogs with more serious joint issues, you can also give swimming a try. It’s a great low impact way to get your dog moving! Another low energy activity that can at the same time engage your senior dog is to stuff some soft treats in KONG Senior Dog Toy and let your pup enjoy a little sniff and treat session.
Aside from exercise, it’s also vital to have a good health checkup schedule. Not every health condition presents itself until it’s too late. Having a veterinarian check your dog at least twice a year can help spot issues as quickly as possible to help you manage your dog’s health!
Caring for a senior dog requires a lot of patience and time. They’re more likely to make messes and it can be expensive to get your pup all the medical attention and products like senior dog food that they need. But at the end of day, it’s worth every second to help our lovable pups stay healthy and comfortable. After all, they’re still the adorable dogs we started our journey with!
GDP supports ethical and responsible dog ownership and you can be assured that all the products featured on our online store are responsible products. You may check out our Academy to learn more about various interesting topics that might guide you to becoming an even better dog owner for your furry friend. If products listed below are 'out of stock', that means they are super popular, but before you get disappointed, check out the drop down bar to discover other flavours or sizes.
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.