There are many ways you can help make your dog’s golden years comfortable and happy. Senior dogs are such a delight, and these sweet old souls deserve the best of everything.
When is a Dog Considered a Senior?
A dog’s typical life expectancy is around 12-15 years. Some shorter, some longer. Smaller dog breeds tend to live longer on average while large and giant dog breeds have shorter lifespans.
Signs of Aging in Dogs
Although they may be slowing down, senior dogs still need regular exercise and mental stimulation – walking them little and often will help keep their weight down and toys and puzzle feeders can keep them entertained. Wearing a coat when out and about can help keep them warm and dry.
Gentle grooming can help you spend quality time with your dog which also gives you the chance to check for lumps and bumps, aches and pains. Older dogs often have less endurance when exercising and take longer to get out of bed. Some older dogs will have less patience in certain situations, such as around active children or excited dogs.
Helping Your Senior Dog
There are several adjustments you can make in your dog’s environment that will help in his transition to senior status. Most of these require little sacrifice on your part and will make a positive difference for your dog.
- Visit your vet every six months instead of once per year for wellness exams and health screenings. Make a budget to allow for lab work and diagnostic imaging.
- If your dog’s endurance is declining or he is having trouble getting around, take slower and shorter walks several times a day rather than one or two long, brisk walks.
- For dogs having trouble getting around: use ramps on stairs or for getting up to furniture; place down mats with gripped bottoms on slick floors.
- Allow your dog access to the outdoors for potty breaks more frequently.
- Feed a high-quality dog food. You may even look into a senior dog food formula. These often have fewer calories (to prevent weight gain), higher nutrient levels and sometimes even supplements to support an aging dog.
- Be patient and give lots of extra TLC
Thoughts on adopting a Senior Dog.
Senior dogs typically require less exercise, suffer from fewer behavioral issues and come to you already potty trained. For these reasons, they are a particularly good choice for those adopting. Especially for their first time.