Elder pet care doesn’t have to start when your dog reaches old age. There are many preventative, helpful tips and tricks to caring for your pet as it gets older, and you can begin implementing them early on.

When does a dog really reach “old age?” Often, signs of aging in dogs, like vision or hearing loss, are pretty good indicators. They might struggle to hear their name every time you call it, for example. It could also be when their legs get stiffer and they become less mobile. It varies.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, says the geriatric age for small dogs is seven while, for larger breeds, it’s usually six. In human years, that’s about 44–56 years old. However, it’s all relative. Your dog’s breed and lifestyle play a part in the process, and aging looks different for everyone.

If you’re thinking, “My old dog is acting strange,” or even just looking for the best ways to prepare your younger dog for aging, we’ve got you covered.

Signs of Aging in Dogs

When your dog is getting older, it can seem like they’re a puppy again when it comes to their needs and how much time and attention they require. Here are some signs that your dog is getting older and a few age-related conditions they may encounter as they do:

  • A decline in vision, cataracts
  • Reduced mobility
  • Arthritis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Change in diet
  • Moodiness
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer

Anxiety in Older Dogs

Along with these changes often comes anxiety for you and your dog. You may notice your dog has less energy or even anxious energy. This looks different for every pet, but you will notice when your dog is experiencing anxiety.

Your dog can also become senile. Interacting with and stimulating them can help keep your dog’s mind active and ease these problems.

Tips to Caring for Your Older Dog

Here are some best care practices for aging dogs:

  1. Establish a care routine. It’s important to keep a routine when it comes to annual visits to your veterinarian. This can help catch issues early on and allows you to work with your vet to find the best treatment options. It also lets you ensure that your dog stays up-to-date on vaccinations and other regular medical maintenance.
  2. Take preventative measures. Catching problems early on and before they progress is always best. Similar to humans, it can be helpful to check for growth in your dog. Long, shaggy coats can often hide developing tumors, cysts, and skin conditions on dogs, so regular checkups and grooming can help you monitor for these issues. Also ensure that you keep your dog active, which improves joint function and combats stiffness as your dog ages. Finally, maintain your dog’s oral health by brushing often and giving your pup dental treats.
  3. Be cautious and patient.If your dog is losing its hearing or struggling with its vision, it’s important to be cognizant of that. Have patience if it takes a few times to call their name before they come to you. Move certain furniture or add a baby gate to the stairs if either poses a threat to your dog who doesn’t see or move as well as they used to. You can also add steps next to your couch or bed if your dog can’t jump like it used to.
  4. Adjust their diet. As your dog gets older and is running around less and less, it’s likely their diet needs changing too. Your dog’s daily caloric requirement drops as they age and become less active. Practice portion control and find well-balanced foods.

Our dogs are more than pets; they’re loved ones. Ensure yours are getting the aging support and preventive care they need by getting in touch with our team today.

Shop our new Pharmacy!

Local care, online convenience!

Book an Appoiment Today

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pyothorax


Related Content