Caring for and Appreciating an Older Dog

Having an older dog in the family is a wonderful experience. The years of memories are cherished with the beloved pet. If there are children in the home, fun has been had. However, it can be a challenging time as well.

We will attempt to answer some of the more common questions associated with owning an older dog. These include:

How can I determine if my dog is considered “senior” in age?

What steps can I take to ensure that my pal is getting the best care possible?

We currently do not have a dog and are considering adopting an older one. Is this wise with kids in the house?

Dogs and Aging

Younger dogs, or puppies if you’d like, have different care needs than their older friends. Anyone can tell the difference between a puppy and a senior dog, the confusing part for some is differing between 2 dogs who in appearance seem the same yet have an age difference.

This is important because senior dogs have special needs. There are some general guidelines that assist us in determining whether our loved one fits this category:

- The largest breeds age faster (Great Danes are seniors by age 5 or 6)
- The breeds just below in size, such as a Golden Retriever, are considered seniors by age 8 or 10
- The smallest breeds, say a Chihuahua, is classified as a senior at age 10 or 11

These ages and senior classifications are not set in stone. Other factors that play into consideration are environment, genetics, and nutrition.

Caring for a Senior Dog

Did you know that obesity is a problem for dogs? As they get older, many turn into “couch potatoes” just like us humans. On the other hand, some older dogs experience unusual weight loss. If you reside in a region where winters can be harsh, consider adopting a spring health plan for your dog.

Keeping a proactive mindset with your dog will ensure they are getting the best care possible. Schedule at least a yearly examination with your veterinarian. During this examination, ask for consultation on exercise.

Exercise consultation is wise, as it may prove harmful to your pet if they are not physically capable of the exertion you ask of them. As with humans, with age can come joint dysfunction.

According to EntirelyPets, dogs that suffer from joint dysfunction can benefit from glycoflex. The support that is provided can help both the pet and the owner enjoy longer walks and periods of play together.

Kids and Older Dogs

Generally speaking, we associate kids with puppies. The challenge of having kids compounded with a puppy (or puppies) is that the puppy requires inordinate amounts of attention. Getting them trained is, at times, a painstaking process.

The advantages of bringing in an older, or senior, dog with the kids are many. The older dog has most likely been trained in obedience, house trained, and is used to being in a crate. It may be that the dog is comfortable resting in a small bed next to yours.

They are family, and should be treated as such. Enjoy their company and cherish the memories you make with them as each day comes to pass. Your dog will show their appreciation for your attention in the love in their eyes.

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