Care Advice & Tips for Senior Dogs

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Dogs age much faster than we do.” That may be true, but the years go by quickly for us humans as well. And if you’re lucky enough to have your furry best friend by your side through all those years, you may find yourself wondering, “Does my senior dog need special care?”

The answer to that question is yes—but it’s not as scary as it sounds. You’ve been taking care of your dog since he was a puppy and now he’s a senior. You know how to take good care of him—and with the right guidance, you can continue to provide him with the best possible care in his senior years.

Whether he’s just entering his senior years or has already lived into double digits and is still going strong, your dog will benefit from a few modifications to his lifestyle and diet as he ages past 5 or 6 (or even earlier if he’s a breed that tends to age quickly). In this blog post, we’ll explore some common changes in dogs’ nutritional needs as they get older and offer tips on providing the best care for your elderly companion.

When a dog enters his senior years, they become more susceptible to chronic illnesses and conditions, such as osteoarthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

As your dog enters his senior years, he becomes more susceptible to chronic illnesses and conditions. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease that causes pain in the joints and affects mobility.
  • Cancer, which is the most common cause of death in older dogs.
  • Heart disease, which affects up to 80 percent of geriatric dogs.

Other conditions are also seen more often with increasing age, including kidney disease; diabetes mellitus; eye problems such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA); thyroid disease; skin problems such as sebaceous adenitis (SA); bone diseases such as osteosarcoma and metabolic bone disease; parasites like heartworms that can affect both blood flow and organ function; cognitive dysfunction like dementia or Alzheimer’s-like behavior changes in your dog due to stressors such as being left alone for extended periods of time without proper stimulation or socialization opportunities

Even though many pet parents hate to think about it, dogs are only around for a short time, as compared to their human companions.

Even though many pet parents hate to think about it, dogs are only around for a short time, as compared to their human companions.

While the average lifespan of a dog has increased over the past few decades, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), many dogs still have shorter lifespans than humans.

In fact, the average lifespan of a dog is just 10 years old—although it can be as short as 7 or 8 years old or longer than 15 years old depending on breeds and size.

The average lifespan of a canine can vary greatly, depending on breed and care he receives.

The average lifespan of a canine can vary greatly, depending on breed and care he receives.

Any dog will live longer if they are taken care of well and live in a loving home. Dogs that are neglected and abused by their owners tend to have shorter lifespans as well.

Some breeds have an average life expectancy that is slightly higher than others, but it’s safe to say that most dogs will live between 8 and 12 years. Some dogs may even live up to 15 years with proper care!

While all dogs age differently, the first signs of aging usually begin around 5 or 6 years of age.

While all dogs age differently, the first signs of aging usually begin around 5 or 6 years of age. These signs are not always easy to detect, but they include:

  • Increased thirst and frequency of urination (if not related to a medical condition)
  • Decreased activity level
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason

As dogs get older, their nutritional requirements change because they don’t have the same energy needs as younger dogs who are more active.

As dogs get older, their nutritional requirements change because they don’t have the same energy needs as younger dogs who are more active. Older dogs do not need to eat as much per meal or per day.

In fact, it’s important that you don’t over-feed your older dog. The amount of calories in the food should be adjusted according to your dog’s activity level, weight and age. If you feed them too much food, this can lead to obesity which is one of the most common health problems among senior dogs; so always feed them less than what they would eat if they were still younger and more active!

When choosing a dry food for an older dog:

Choose high quality protein sources like chicken or turkey meal instead of fish meal which may cause allergies or digestive upset; also look for whole grains such as brown rice instead of white rice since whole grain carbs provide more fiber and vitamins/minerals than processed carbs like white flour which aren’t good for an aging belly!

It gets harder for transitioning pets to digest some nutrients – fat and fiber included – especially when they’re eating the same type of food they did when they were young.

The digestive system slows down with age, which makes it more difficult for your pet to digest some nutrients – fat and fiber included.

The liver and kidneys are less able to process fat and fiber. The pancreas may not be able to produce enough digestive enzymes. The stomach and intestines become less efficient at absorbing nutrients, especially in older dogs who suffer from chronic inflammation or irritation (such as with IBD).

In addition, there’s a big difference between “senior” dogs (8+ years) vs “older” dogs (11+ years). Those over 11 years old are considered geriatric pets, so take care when feeding them any type of food or treats that contain ingredients that may make them ill if they don’t tolerate them well!

Senior dogs often have trouble digesting calories like they could when they were younger.

As dogs age, their metabolism slows down. This means that they can’t process food as efficiently as they did when they were younger. Senior dogs may have trouble digesting fat and fiber, which leads to an upset stomach or diarrhea. If you notice your senior dog struggling with digestion issues, talk to your vet about switching his diet to one that’s more easily digested (like cooked chicken).

To help provide energy for your aging pet and promote a healthy body weight, look for foods that are higher in protein than fat.

If your aging dog needs to gain weight, look for foods that contain higher amounts of fat. This is because fat is harder to digest than protein and thus takes more energy from the body to break down. However, if your dog is at a healthy weight or needs to lose some pounds, look for foods with lower amounts of fat but still contain enough protein-rich sources.

Look for foods that contain antioxidants like vitamins A and E to help support the immune system and promote healthy cell function.

Before you start shopping for your dog’s diet, it’s important to know what antioxidants are and why they’re so good for them. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage. They can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more by preventing free radical damage caused by environmental toxins like pollution and cigarette smoke.

Dogs with certain medical conditions may benefit from omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known as essential fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fats that must be obtained through diet. They can help with joint pain and mobility, heart health, coat quality, and brain function.

The best way to ensure you’re giving your dog enough omega-3s is by choosing a dog food that contains fish oil. If the product you choose doesn’t list the amount of fish oil on the label or it’s in an ingredient list without an amount specified for each serving (as in “1 cup” or “per pound”), check out the serving size information to get an accurate estimate of how much fish oil you’re giving your dog each day.

If you have questions about how much fish oil is too much for your pet or any other specific concerns about nutrition for senior dogs (or any other pets), make sure to ask your veterinarian!

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in taking care of your older dog. Keep in mind that each dog is unique and will get older at his own pace. The most important thing to remember is that your senior pet needs extra love, care, attention and support so he can live a long and healthy life alongside his family. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health, be sure to contact your veterinarian to discuss the best options for keeping him happy and healthy into his golden years!