It’s no fun watching our dogs become seniors as they start to slow down, they get that grey around their face and start to have difficulty getting around. Keeping senior dogs active and healthy can help them feel young again and prevent things like joint issues.
What Are The Signs Of Aging In Dogs?
The term “senior” can be used to characterize an elderly dog, as per the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), although the length of time a pet is deemed “senior” varies. Dogs become seniors at different ages depending on their breed and size. Large dogs also typically age faster than small dogs. For example, a Great Dane would be considered a senior at 7 years old but a chihuahua might be 14. On average, the age a dog is considered senior is between 5 and 10 years old.
It’s also important to note the concept of senior and geriatric dogs differ. A senior dog is usually still healthy and has just started aging while geriatric dogs are on the older end of the spectrum and have more age-related health issues and are in more pain. Signs of dogs aging include going gray around their muzzle and the rest of their body, and they might start slowing down a bit and need assistance jumping or getting down from high spots. The signs of aging in dogs are very similar to those in humans and can be readily identified. Common health problems in seniors include vision loss, oral problems, weight gain or loss, joint pain, and senility.
How Can You Help Your Senior Dog Age Gracefully?
With age, dogs usually develop joint pain which makes everyday things difficult or painful. In general, make changes that will put less stress on your dog’s body. Other ways you can do this are ramps/stairs in the house or to the car, anti-slip socks on hardwood floors, and a quality orthopedic dog bed that can make the biggest difference. View our curation of senior dogs products!
Keep Up With Oral Care
Dental care in dogs is always important but as they age, keeping up with it is even more important. The plaque buildup can harm a dog’s organs and get into their bloodstream. Older dogs are also at risk for rotting teeth so consistent brushing can be detrimental to their health. Check out our curated oral care products.
Watch the Weight
A dog’s weight can often go up or down with age and maintaining that weight is crucial. An obese dog can have much worse joint pain and general health. But being underweight is also extremely unhealthy as their body isn’t holding onto nutrition. Try opting for low-calorie and high digestible foods and treats with less high-protein foods.
Dabble With Supplements
There are many supplements that can aid in your dog’s aging process. The most popular are glucosamine to aid in joint health. Fish oil is also very popular as it’s a natural anti-inflammatory while also aiding in managing certain heart and joint problems while keeping their coat and skin healthy. View our collection of curated supplements!
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
It’s important to keep senior dogs moving to avoid losing muscle mass and increasing stiffness. Keep the exercise light such as one walk a day so as to not have them over-exert themselves. Even daily play time can keep them feeling spry.
Try Enrichment Games
One of the conditions that can often come with canine aging is Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS). CCDS is a compilation of changes that many dogs go through as they get older, including loss of housetraining, loss of interest in usual activities or people, aimless wandering or pacing (especially at night), loss of normal daily rhythms, and general confusion. Enrichment games can keep your dog’s mind stimulated and keep them from displaying symptoms of CCDS.
Meet With A Physical Therapist
A physical therapist can set up a regimen for your senior dog to keep up their muscle mass, prevent stiffening and help with any arthritis they may be experiencing. This could often include practices such as hydrotherapy, cold laser therapy, and acupuncture. Find a physical therapist near you!