Senior Dog Care: How to Support Pets As They Age
by Jamie Tedder on Jan 17, 2024
Dogs make wonderful companions, but much like humans, they age. As they grow older, they will experience various changes, including graying hair, potential mobility issues, and declining hearing and eyesight. Aging dogs may gradually slow down and become weaker and more susceptible to health issues.
As responsible pet owners, adapting your dog's routine, veterinary care, and home environment as they age is a great way to support their health and ensure they enjoy life to the fullest.
Senior Dog Age: When is A Dog Considered a Senior?
On average, dogs have a lifespan of around 12 years, although many live considerably longer.
The age at which dogs earn a senior status varies by breed. Small breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, are considered old at around 10 or 11 years. Medium and large breeds, like Golden Retrievers, enter their senior years between 8 and 10. Meanwhile, giant breeds, such as Great Danes, have a shorter lifespan and are considered seniors by age 5 or 6.
While estimates exist based on breed and size, genetics and lifestyle can also influence your dog's aging process. Recognizing when your dog enters its senior years is necessary to outline appropriate care for its specific life stage. This may involve dietary adjustments, medications, and supplements to address pre-existing conditions that could arise as they age.
5 Tips to Care for Your Senior Dog
Senior dogs have different basic needs than adult dogs and puppies—and adjusting your dog's life and daily routine to accommodate its evolving body and immune system is essential to keep it happy and healthy as they age. From adopting an age-appropriate diet to setting up special accommodations like indoor grass potty pads for dogs, continue reading for tips on caring for your dog during its golden years.
As dogs age, they tend to become less active, resulting in lower energy needs and potential weight gain. Excess weight can contribute to health issues, like heart disease and joint problems, such as arthritis.
Address these concerns by providing a balanced diet appropriate for your dog's age. Look for high-quality dog food formulated for senior dogs, typically with lower fat and caloric content. Serving the same daily amount over several meals, rather than two large ones, also helps meet dietary requirements without overloading your dog in one go. These practices will help promote overall health and reduce the risk of obesity and other problems associated with aging dogs.
Regular Exercise and Playtime
While senior pets may have lower energy levels than younger dogs, exercise remains essential for maintaining optimal weight and overall well-being. Start slowly with regular walks or gentle jogs to help build your dog's stamina. You can also consult your veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate exercise routine for older dogs.
Additionally, engaging your dog in playtime not only keeps your dog physically active but also facilitates mental exercise. Puzzle feeders, which dispenser treats as a reward for solving a puzzle, are excellent tools for mental stimulation. We advise rotating their toys to prevent boredom and ensure a variety of activities.
Routine Vet Checkups
Regular visits to the vet become increasingly essential as dogs age, when their immune system becomes weaker, rendering them more vulnerable to various health issues. Most vets advise scheduling checkups for senior dogs once every six months to monitor their overall well-being and address potential concerns as they emerge.
In addition to assessing your dog's overall well-being, vets play a crucial role in maintaining your senior dog's oral health. Professional teeth cleaning is recommended annually to prevent dental issues. As a preventive measure, vets may also administer vaccines and other preemptive treatments once every three years to ensure ongoing protection against parasites and other potential health threats.
As your dog ages, their once lustrous coat may lose its shine and become dry and brittle. They are also prone to dry, flaky, and irritated skin.
Taking your dog for professional grooming, ideally, once a month, is essential to maintain their coat and overall health. This routine should include haircuts to prevent matting and tangling, along with teeth brushing to promote good oral health.
Additionally, proper hygiene practices are essential to keep them clean between baths—wipe their coat and paws before going indoors and use pet-safe moisturizers to prevent dry skin. Regular grooming not only keeps them looking and feeling their best but also allows you to check for any lumps, bumps, or skin abnormalities that may require veterinary attention.
Indoor Potty Training with Real Grass Pee Pads for Dogs
Age-related problems such as mobility issues affect almost every aspect of your dog's life, including their bathroom routine. In old age, your dog is also prone to developing urinary incontinence, making it more difficult to hold it in, particularly through the night.
For older dogs facing challenges in making outdoor trips, indoor potty training can be a practical solution to avoid discomfort and accidents. The success of this process relies on using a surface your dog is familiar with, and if your older pet has been accustomed to relieving itself on grass, a real grass potty pad can facilitate a seamless transition to indoor training.
While indoor potty training may require time and patience, consistency and positive reinforcement, such as using the same cues and schedule for bathroom breaks, praising, and rewarding successful elimination, are essential to make it more effective.
Gotta Go Grass Potty Pads for Senior Dogs
As most dogs prefer to do their business in quiet, place your dog's indoor grass pad in a discreet, low-traffic area in your home. What's great about our Gotta Go Grass potty pads is that they are portable and easy to set up. Each fresh patch of grass fits into our innovative, interlocking tray, which you can adjust to accommodate various size requirements.
Because it uses real grass, our dog pads are fully biodegradable and compostable, making them a sustainable alternative to fake grass and single-use options. With natural moisture and odor-absorbing properties, it can last for weeks, thus simplifying cleanup—simply dispose of soiled grass, wash, and refill the tray with a new patch.
Overall, our grass pads for dogs are more than just a convenient indoor bathroom for seniors; they're also practical for small dogs and prove invaluable during cold weather when taking your pet outside for potty breaks is less than ideal. They offer easy access to a bathroom, prioritizing your dog's health and hygiene regardless of the life stage they are in.
Visit our website today to shop for indoor grass pad solutions for your dogs today.