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Senior Dog Care

February 1, 2023

Is your canine pal in his golden years? Dogs don’t age at the same rate: big dogs age fastest, with some giant breeds becoming seniors as early as age six. Toy breeds, in comparison, may not be official seniors until they are ten or even older. A local Lasalle County, IL vet offers some senior dog care tips in this article.

Keep Fido Fit

Just like people, dogs tend to slow down as they get older. Fido won’t have as much energy or stamina as a puppy, but he still needs some activity, even if it’s just a daily walk. Otherwise, your pup may become obese, which can lead to a whole slew of health problems.

Offer Doggy Comforts

Small luxuries can sometimes make a big difference. Make sure Fido has a good bed! Orthopedic beds are generally the best bet for older dogs.

Make Small Adjustments

Over time, you may notice your pup having trouble climbing stairs or getting in and out of cars. Pet ramps can help keep your canine buddy get around more easily. If Fido experiences a loss in his sight or hearing, you can take steps to make your home safer and more comfortable for him. A blind dog may appreciate carpet runners to help him get around, while a pooch that can’t hear can be taught to come to a flashlight being waved.

Provide Proper Veterinary Care

As your furry pal ages, you’ll need to keep a close eye on his health. Your vet may recommend bringing him in more often. At home, watch for signs of sickness, such as limping, weight loss, reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhea. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss. 


Fido may experience many of the same things older people do, such as incontinence. These changes can be frightening and confusing to your canine friend. Don’t punish him for accidents: that will just make him feel sad and embarrassed. You can get a waterproof cover for his bed. This is also something you want to talk to your vet about. 


Make sure that your canine companion feels loved and safe. Dogs in their senior years often become very sweet and affectionate. They are also heartmeltingly cute! Savor this special time with your furry best friend!

Our Advice on Senior Dog Care in 2024

How can you help your senior dog maintain a healthy weight?

To help your senior dog maintain a healthy weight, ensure regular, moderate exercise tailored to their energy levels, like daily walks. Adjust their diet to match their reduced activity, focusing on nutrient-rich, lower-calorie foods suitable for their age. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to monitor their health and adjust their diet as needed. Avoid overfeeding and provide healthy treats. These steps, combined with a loving environment, will support your senior dog’s health and happiness.

How do older dogs’ personalities typically change?

Older dogs often exhibit a sweet and affectionate demeanor, becoming notably more gentle and patient. As they age, their energy levels may decrease, leading to a calmer temperament compared to their younger years. It’s common for senior dogs to seek closer companionship with their human families, valuing comfort and quiet moments more. However, some may experience increased anxiety or irritability due to health issues like pain or sensory loss. Observing these changes in personality and behavior can deepen the bond between owners and their aging canine friends, highlighting the importance of patience, understanding, and adapted care.

Does your senior dog need a change in food as they age?

Yes, senior dogs often require dietary adjustments to suit their changing nutritional needs and metabolism. As dogs age, they may become less active, necessitating lower-calorie diets to prevent obesity. It’s also important to consider foods with higher-quality protein to support muscle mass while being easier on the kidneys. Supplements for joint health, like glucosamine and chondroitin, can be beneficial. Always consult your vet to tailor the diet to your dog’s specific health requirements, ensuring it includes all necessary nutrients for their well-being in their golden years.

What are common health conditions that arise in senior dogs?

Common health conditions in senior dogs include arthritis, which causes joint pain and mobility issues, and obesity, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth loss, are prevalent, affecting their ability to eat properly. Older dogs are also more susceptible to cancer, kidney disease, and liver disease. Vision and hearing loss may occur, impacting their navigation and communication. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome, similar to dementia in humans, can affect their behavior and memory. Regular veterinary care is essential to manage these conditions and maintain quality of life.

What are signs of cognitive decline or anxiety in older dogs?

Signs of cognitive decline in older dogs include disorientation, confusion in familiar environments, changes in sleep patterns with restlessness at night, decreased interest in play or interaction, and forgetting previously learned commands or house training. Anxiety in senior dogs may manifest as increased irritability, vocalization, or a heightened startle response. You might also notice changes in their attachment levels, either becoming clingy or indifferent. These behavioral shifts can indicate underlying health issues or discomfort, necessitating a veterinary consultation to address their needs and enhance their comfort in their senior years.

As your Lasalle County, IL animal clinic, we are dedicated to offering top-notch care. Please contact us anytime!

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