Senior dogs are special! They are sweet and wise and at this age, just want to be with their human counterparts as much as possible. They also have more specific needs as they turn gray in the face and start to slow down…
What “defines” a senior dog? Not all dogs are created equal; larger breeds (great danes, rottweiler’s, saint bernards, mastiffs) tend to age much more quickly compared to the smaller or toy breeds (yorkshire terries, chihuahuas, toy poodles, shitzus). Aging for larger breeds, begins around the age of 6-7 years old while the smaller breeds start this process much later, between 10-12 years old or even older!
There are certain care needs to consider for our aging pooches:
– Being able to hold their bladder is something you will start to notice. They may not be able to go that 8+ hour shift like they once could and this should become a consideration if you need to work or be away from them for extended periods of time. This may also be a good time to discuss hiring a walker or sitter to go over and allow them to eliminate themselves. Dogs don’t like to have accidents inside the house and this is particularly the case for our proud senior dogs, as it’s embarrassing for them to not have as much control!
– Their dietary needs will shift. As your pup begins to age, you will see them start to slow down and not have that spry and bouncy energy like they used to. This is a normal occurrence but their high protein or carb kibble, may not be the best choice to be able to keep their weight down. Those regularly given treats will need to slow down too and veggies can be given in it’s place.
– Their old exercise regime may not be so safe for them anymore… Dogs often have joint or arthritis issues and it’s harder for them to get up and down off the floor. Joint supplements and shorter and more frequent walks, will help with inflammation. Remember: they should be moving in a straight line to avoid injury so those 2 hour long hikes, are probably not the best idea at this stage!
– As our dog begins to age, their sharp memory might start to dwindle… This is another common thing, especially in geriatric dogs! They make become disoriented more easily, have some separation anxiety or even walk into things in the home that they didn’t do before. Mental stimulation games are a great way to help their mental health, as well as talking and companionship, as much as possible.
Our senior dogs will need us more and we should be offering extra help and care! If you find that your dog needs some love and attention while you’re away, we are able to help. Check us out for more info: doggongoodtime.com