5 Tips for Caring for an Older Pet That Go Beyond Choosing the Best Senior Dog Food

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One of the best things you can do for your pet as he reaches old age is choose the perfect senior dog food formula. Dog Digz wants you to consider the fact that, “Much like humans, the older that dogs get, the more that their bodies begin to break down, take longer to recover, become susceptible to weight gain, and are prone to sickness.” Choosing the best senior dog food is one way to combat these changes!

Just to set a context, a pet become “old” varies from animal to animal and from breed to breed. For instance, cats and small dogs are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6 years of age. It is not as simple as “1 human year = X cat/dog years”, there are calculations that can help put a pet’s age in human terms:

Cat Age Chart

Cat YearsHuman Years (Dog size in lbs)

Dog Age Chart

Dog YearsHuman Years
7Small – Medium: 44-47
Large – Very large: 50-56
10Small – Medium: 56-60
Large – Very large: 66-78
15Small – Medium: 76-83
Large – Very large: 93-115
20Small – Medium: 96-105
Large: 120
*Small: 0-20 lbs; Medium: 21-50 lbs; Large: 51-90 lbs; Very large: >90 lbs

The oldest recorded age of a cat is 34 years. The oldest recorded age of a dog is 29 years.

However, it isn’t the only thing you can do to make sure your dog is happy and healthy well into his golden years. Here are a few other things you can do to make sure your senior dog gets the care and attention he deserves.

Adjust Meal Time Habits

You may have to consider switching up your dog’s diet as part of his mealtime habits, but that isn’t the only thing you may have to do. There are other things you may need to do to make sure your pet is encouraged to continue eating his food.

Bending over can become difficult as your dog ages, especially if you have a large breed. Purchase bowls in a tray that can elevate your dog’s food and water off the floor by a few inches.

Older dogs are at higher risk of developing obesity since they no longer have the same levels of energy as before. So it is important to find the best dog food that is specially designed for senior dogs in order to prevent weight gain. These are often low in fat and have fewer calories that will complement the nutritional need of your dog.

Chewing hard food can get difficult as your dog gets older too. If you don’t want to switch to a wet food, consider mixing chicken broth in with his hard food to make it softer.

Get Your Pooch the Perfect Dog Bed

It isn’t uncommon for dogs to develop osteoarthritis as they get older. That can make getting enough sleep difficult.

One thing you can do to help your dog is to get him the perfect bed. If you have a large breed, consider propping his bed up on a platform so he no longer has to get up and down off of the floor when he wants to relax.

Older dogs often develop arthritis and cancer or other bone and joint problems that affect their mobility. Your dog can benefit from soft bedding and an easily accessible bed that won’t require jumping or climbing.

A heated pet bed can be a great choice for senior dogs too. Not only can it keep your pooch warm in the winter, it can ease tired muscles and reduce painful symptoms that are associated with arthritis.

Seniorize Your Home

Dogs can greatly improve our health, especially when it comes to petting and snuggling. However, you’ll find that your dog is a lot less interested in snuggling if your home isn’t set up to accommodate the changes that come with being a senior canine.

A few ways to make it easier for your dog to get around include:

  • Stairs at the end of the bed and couch
  • A ramp to help your dog get in the car
  • Nonslip surfaces on hard flooring and in the tub

Seniorizing your home for your dog also means leaving furniture where it is as your pet ages. Moving furniture around when your dog’s eyesight isn’t what it used to be means you could find your pet in more accidents than ever before.

Seniorizing your home also means spending more quality time with your pup. Aging is a completely normal thing, but it is very difficult and painful to witness all the changes that aging may bring your beloved dog. The best thing you can do is to live in the moment and cherish all the memories and every day spent with your pooch. Treat your dog like your best friend, deserving of your love and attention every single day

Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Health and Habits

It takes decades for humans to be labeled as seniors. That’s not the case with dogs. It will happen faster than you think, which is why it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog’s health and habits.

There are many problems that can develop in senior canines. Many of these problems can be addressed, and the earlier you catch them, the easier they are to solve. For example, obesity can be addressed by switching up your dog’s diet and making sure he gets a little more exercise, while many tumors can easily be removed by your veterinarian.

Visit the Vet More Often

As soon as you notice a difference in your dog’s health, or if he begins acting strangely, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Just remember that routine visits to the vet are important too.

As your dog gets older, you may discover that it’s best to take your dog in twice a year instead of once a year. By taking your dog in more often, your veterinarian can identify and address potential problems earlier, and it gives you a chance to discuss any changes you notice that could be a bigger deal than you initially thought.

When it comes to vaccines, older dogs don’t require them at the same intervals. Usually once every three years is enough, but you should consult your vet since they will know what is best for your dog’s individual needs.

As soon as your dog gets to be about seven years old, it’s time to start looking into a senior dog food. It also means it’s time to start following the tips on this list so he lives the happiest, healthiest life possible.

How To Care for Your Senior Pet

Older pet care considerations

Here are some basic considerations when caring for older pets:

  • Increased veterinary care
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Weight control
  • Parasite control
  • Maintaining mobility
  • Vaccination
  • Environmental considerations
  • Mental health
  • Reproductive diseases

Possible behavior changes in older pets

Before any medical signs become apparent, behavioral changes can serve as important indicators that something is changing in an older pet, which may be due to medical or other reasons. As your pet’s owner, you serve a critical role in detecting early signs of disease because you interact and care for your pet on a daily basis and are familiar with your pet’s behavior and routines.

If your pet is showing any change in behavior or other warning signs of disease, contact your veterinarian and provide them with a list of the changes you have observed in your pet.

Sometimes, the changes may seem contradictory – such as an older pet that has symptoms of hearing loss but also seems more sensitive to strange sounds.

  • Increased reaction to sounds
  • Increased vocalization
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased interaction w/humans
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased response to commands
  • Increased aggressive/protective behavior
  • Increased anxiety
  • House soiling
  • Decreased self-hygiene/grooming
  • Repetitive activity
  • Increased wandering
  • Change in sleep cycles

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