There are some affiliate links below, but they are all products I highly recommend. For more info, view my disclosure here.
Loving a senior dog comes with its own unique set of challenges, but it can be very rewarding. Senior dogs can be adorably cute and sweet. It’s important to know a few things about them and their care if you’re going to ensure their final years are as comfortable for them as possible.
It’s not necessarily something that most people like to think about, but you should be prepared. Below are a few things we bet your senior dog really wants you to know, or will want you to know in the future.
They Aren’t Making Messes Inside On Purpose
A senior dog can find it tricky to hold themselves as long they used to. This may result in them having accidents with peeing or pooping in the house on occasion. They really can’t help it, and they definitely aren’t being naughty. It’s important not to scold them.
Dogs can get embarrassed when they have accidents, so just clean it up without making them feel worse. It could be due to a health issue, which calls for a vet visit. Also, some medications like Prednisone can also cause increased thirst, which leads to increased urination.
Just know that sometimes senior dogs find it difficult to hold it in as they used to and will need more frequent potty breaks.
They Can’t See/Hear As Well Anymore
Your dog probably isn’t ignoring you on purpose – they may not be able to see or hear as well as they used to. Their hearing and eyesight declines with age, so don’t get too frustrated with them if they aren’t coming to you as quickly when you call them.
They May Be Hungry For Different Types of Food
Your dog’s appetite can actually change as they get older. You can take a look at site like Freshpet reviews and Dog Food Advisor to get a feel for different types of food that could be beneficial for your senior dog.
You may need to test out different types of foods to see what they like, but beware of switching too quickly, which can cause tummy issues. Typically, you’ll want to switch by starting with ¼ new to ¾ old food, and increasing the ratio of new to old every few days over the course of two weeks.
You may need to entice them to eat from time to time with something new and exciting in their dish. Stick with things to support their health, like carrots, peas, and broccoli. Fish oil is a great addition to help lubricate their joints. Our Ginger loved my homemade dog food recipe, which is easily adaptable. Get the recipe here!
They Might Need You To Go The Extra Mile For Them Sometimes
On occasion, your dog might feel tired and not want to get up for their breakfast. At times like this, it’s perfectly fine for you to take their bowl to them. They’ll probably really appreciate it! Them not getting up to eat doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not hungry, but sometimes they may be in pain and want to chill.
They Might Feel A Little More Anxious Or Grumpy From Time To Time
Dog’s personalities can change as they get older. They might be a little more anxious, jumpy, and grumpy as they age. Prepare for this and try not to get upset with them, as they can sense how you are feeling. CBD oil is wonderful for easing anxiety and helps with minor aches and pains. We especially like KingKanine CBD oil, since it’s made from krill oil, which supports healthy joints. Learn more about the benefits of CBD oil here.
You’re Still Their Best Friend
No matter what, you’re still your senior dog’s best friend. Have a plan in place for when you know it’s their time to go. When Ginger turned 15, we knew she most likely wouldn’t make it another year. I researched local vet options and found a few that would come out to the house so she wouldn’t have to make a final vet visit. Having those numbers handy when she was still healthy made it much easier to call and schedule the appointment when her health took a bad turn.
When the time comes for them to leave, be there for them as they have been there for you. It sucks. There’s no getting around that. It will be hard for you, but making sure they don’t leave the world anxious and frantically wondering where you are is much worse. They’ve given you so much love, it’s important to give them this final gift.