This post was written by me and sponsored by Wellness. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Around eight years ago a dog and her three puppies showed up at my parents house in the country. The puppies were older and the mom was looking skinny and ill. They were clearly dumped and showed signs of having been abused. They were beautiful dogs, we believed the mom was mostly Great Pyrenees (recently had her DNA tested and she is 3/4 Great Pyrenees and 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd). I feel in love with her and ended up adopting her.
She needed a lot of vet care as she was pretty sick. She got spayed and her double dewclaws removed — Great Pyrenees and a few other breeds have them but they no longer need them and they can get caught on things and hurt them. She also needed lot of medicine because she had Ehrlichia, an infection spread by ticks.
I spent a long time nursing her back to health and eight years later she is around 11 years old and doing great! She has gotten over a lot of her fears from having been abused and other than an ear infection and a possible Ehrlichia relapse a few years ago she has been very healthy. Keeping her healthy in her senior years is very important to me.
Tips for Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy
Senior dogs need a little bit different care than younger dogs. With their activity level decreasing they are more likely to become overweight, they often start to have some joint discomfort and have an increase risk of many health issues.
There are a lot of things you can do to help keep your senior dog healthy and happy. Of course always check with your vet before changing diet, adding in supplements, etc… because each dog is different.
1. Watch their weight.
It’s always important to keep your dog at a healthy weight but senior dogs are more likely to become overweight and it’s even harder on their joints. Making sure to measure out the correct amount of food and watching the treats can help. Also make sure they get daily exercise. They may not be able to go on long runs anymore but a nice walk will help them burn some calories and move those joints. When you do give treats be sure they are high quality treats, just like people treats there are ones that are just full of bad ingredients and are junk food for dogs.
2. Feed them good quality food.
It’s always important to give your dog good quality food but as they age this becomes even more important. I prefer grain free food that is made in the USA. Wellness Complete Health Grain Free is a new food that is a really good option. I really like that with Wellness pet food when I read the ingredients I understand them. It’s a brand I trust for my dog and she loves it as well.
3. Keep Your Dog Learning
Just like people learning new things can help keep your dogs mind active and healthy. Keep teaching them new tricks and look for toys that engage your dogs mind. Not only can you teach old dogs new tricks, it’s good for them.
4. Make things easy.
If your dog is starting to get a bit stiff make sure they have a comfortable bed, if they sleep with you consider a step, and elevated dog food dishes can help sore backs. Also be sure the vet checks them out to make sure it’s just old age and not another issue causing the stiffness.
5. Keep them comfortable.
As dogs age their bodies don’t regulate temperature as well so they can get cold or hot more easily. A warm bed and possibly a sweater can help in the cold months and cool places to lay and possibly trimming your dog in the summer can help. If spending a lot of time outside make sure there is always lots of shade and water in the summer and a warm place during the winter. Bring them in when it’s too hot or cold. I like to stick some treats in the refrigerator during the summer and give one to my dog when we come in from walks.
6. Keep them groomed.
Dogs can become more sensitive as they age and also their hearing and eyesight can start to deteriorate. Keeping their ears clean can help prevent added issues. If your dog seems to have dry eyes, something that older dogs can have happen, talk to your vet about drops.
Also choose gentle and natural shampoos and keep your dogs nails trimmed. You may notice you need to trim them more often as they are less active and wear them down less on their own.
7. Watch for changes.
If you notice changes in your dogs behavior or health talk to your vet. They may be normal parts of aging but it’s always best to be sure. Your vet may be able to also offer specialized advice your dog.
Taking good care of your senior dog will help them spend their remaining years healthy and happy. Our dogs give us so much love it’s important to give it back to them.
I’d love to hear about your dog(s). You can also send me pictures on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page. I love dogs and love to see other’s pets. Also share any tips you have in the comments.