10 Tips
for Taking Care of a Senior Dog

From your toddler childhood to your difficult twilight years, your dog's life is a short decade. Senior dogs have a deep bond with their owners and need more attention and care. Old age begins at age 8 for small dogs, 7 for medium dogs, and 6 for large dogs. Because dogs age at different rates depending on breed and health, they should be cared for carefully and scientifically from an early age.
Here are some ways to care for your aging dog and keep them healthy and happy as they face some of the challenges that come with being a senior.

Set Up Semi-Annual Vet Visits

Whether your senior dog is sick or not, it's important to have a regular checkup. Regular check-ups can spot signs of chronic illness earlier so your senior dog can be treated. For senior dogs, a semi-annual physical examination is recommended, including a regular physical examination and blood and stool tests. In addition, bone diseases in senior dogs also need attention, often including disc problems or arthritis. Senior dogs are more prone to chronic diseases such as kidney failure, heart disease, lung disease, and possibly tumors as their organs deteriorate. If the owner feeds human food or high-fat meat in daily life, it will also lead to the hidden danger of pancreatitis in dogs, so it is necessary to conduct an ultrasound examination.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

The senior dog should adjust the diet structure according to the actual situation or physical examination. When it is found that the dog has poor digestion or severe tooth wear, we can choose easy to digest soft liquid food for the senior dog, do not feed hard dog food.
For example, choose wet food or sheep milk powder soaked soft dog food to feed, senior dogs will be easier to digest and absorb nutrients. Of course, if the tooth wear is not serious, there is no need to eat too soft to prevent often sticky teeth and dental disease, resulting in poor appetite.

Introduce Supplements as Guided by Your Vet

As dogs get older, not only do their hair and skin become rough and dull, but their resistance to disease gradually decreases. Elderly dogs should pay attention to protein supplements and should not eat too much sodium high food, otherwise it will be a burden on the kidneys and heart. In addition to maintaining the same storm diet they're used to, talk to your vet about introducing certain supplements, such as fish oil (good for bones, joints, skin, and coat), glucosamine (good for joints), and/or probiotics (good for digestive health).

Keep an Eye Out for Subtle Signs of Discomfort

Dogs can’t talk, so it’s our job as their caregivers to watch out for signs they might be in distress. Some things to look for include limping, difficulties changing position, difficulties climbing stairs or jumping, and lying down when eating or drinking. Contact your veterinarian if your dog is showing you signs of discomfort. In daily life, we should make senior dogs comfortable, such as providing soft kennels, and paying attention to heat prevention or warmth according to the temperature.

Monitor (and Mix Up) Your Dog's Activity Levels

As they age, dogs tend to gain weight, have trouble moving around, and lose energy. In particular, dogs' joints, muscles and bones can be affected, and some dogs can even develop arthritis. At this time, the senior dog up and down stairs or running will bring a lot of burden to the body. At the same time, the physical strength will slowly decline, unable to do a lot of exercise like the young dog, so stay at home and sleep will be longer. For the sake of dog safety, owners had better not engage in intense sports with their senior dogs, such as running and climbing mountains. Senior dogs can swim, walk and do other relatively soothing sports.

Play Some Brain Games

Mental exercise is just as crucial as physical exercise for your dog’s well-being. Help keep their brain sharp with stimulating activities like puzzle toys, hide-and-seek, and treat “scavenger hunts” around the house. These workouts for the mind are key to keeping your dog in tip-top cognitive shape, and as a bonus, they’re a lot of fun for both of you.

Go For Adventures

As dogs get older, quality time with them becomes more precious. Hitch a ride with your elderly dog on a short trip to a forest preserve, beach or park. You'll create amazing memories with your dog.

Add in More Grooming Sessions

Take care of a senior dog and brush it every day, because combing not only prevents tangles, but also cleans dirt and dust from the dog's hair. It also promotes blood circulation to the dog's skin and healthy hair growth. Also, clean your dog's ear canal regularly, trim his nails and brush his teeth. If your dog is experiencing incontinence, make sure to schedule in additional baths, too. Not only will this allow you to keep your dog looking and feeling their best, it will also provide you with an opportunity to check for new lumps, bumps, or areas of irritation.

Don’t Neglect Dental Care

Up to 80% of dogs will develop gum disease at some point in their lives, and poor dental health can seriously affect the overall health of senior dogs. Pain in the mouth caused by gum disease can prevent dogs from eating and affect their appetite. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the gums and affect the heart, kidneys, liver and vital body functions. For a senior dog whose immune system may have been compromised or not working as well as it used to, this could be catastrophic. Keeping your senior dog's teeth and gums clean can improve their overall health, help prevent disease and reduce pain. Please continue to brush their teeth once a week to avoid gum infection and stone accumulation.

Apply heat therapy to your dog

Senior dogs should be especially careful to avoid injury. A senior dog with aging skin and joints should have a comfortable mattress in the kennel so that he can sleep easily on it. If you use a strip dog cage, you should also cover it with wood to avoid direct foot stepping on the bar or net, so that your beloved dog will not be injured.
In addition, senior dogs are less able to adjust to ambient temperature than they were when they were younger. Therefore, special attention should be paid to keep warm. If the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor is very large, let the dog adjust to the lower temperature in a gradual manner, so as not to cause breathing difficulties or bronchitis. Senior dogs can be massaged to relax their muscles, and physical therapy with heating brace is also recommended.

Heating braces aid in routine care of senior dogs. It helps stretch the soft tissues around the dog's joints, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Therefore, regular hyperthermia often helps to reduce stiffness and injury, increase range of motion, and strengthen trunk movement in senior dogs. When stiffness in the joints is relieved, the dog has an overall sense of comfort and daily activities become less difficult.

Physical therapy, stretching, and exercise are foundational components of most pain treatment regimens. Heat therapy is typically applied to the joints immediately before a physical therapy session and it is advisable to apply heat before exercising and stretching.