It starts with a single white whisker or a sprinkling of gray hairs along the muzzle. But one day, you realize that your dog has achieved senior status. Many owners report that the golden years are some of the most fun of their dogs’ lives. Older dogs are often better trained and more able to lớn listen when compared to an excitable puppy. Plus, you’ve had years to lớn learn how lớn communicate with each other.

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While senior & geriatric dogs are more likely lớn have health problems than puppies, many of these problems are avoidable or can be minimized with the right nutrition before a problem is spotted. Antioxidants, for example, won’t heal cell damage, but they will prevent it. So, don’t wait for symptoms or problems to lớn appear. Make a plan today lớn help your senior dog age gracefully, và you’ll ensure your dog will have the best possible life.

How do You Know When Your Dog Is a Senior or Geriatric Dog?

Different dogs age at different rates. So, if you’ve been using the multiply by seven rule lớn decide how old your dog is, now’s the time reconsider. Dogs vary greatly by kích thước and that size generally determines their overall lifespan. Great Danes live an average of 8 khổng lồ 10 years, while chihuahuas have a life expectancy of 14 khổng lồ 16 years. With such drastically different lifespans, it makes sense that dogs will age at different rates, too.

Instead of trying khổng lồ calculate your dog’s senior status via math, try lớn remember these stats: A large breed dog that’s 55 pounds or heavier becomes a senior dog at six years old và is considered geriatric at eight. Dogs weighing between 21 và 55 pounds aren’t considered senior dogs until they are eight years old. They’re geriatric at 10 years old. & for dogs weighing under trăng tròn pounds, they hit senior status at nine years old and geriatric status at 12 years old.

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What’s the Difference Between Senior and Geriatric Dogs?

Senior status indicates that your dog is getting older, so now’s the time to begin planning for the future. This shift can mean talking lớn your veterinarian và getting routine bloodwork and making sure that your dog’s overall health is good. But your dog should still be as active và healthy as ever.

Geriatric dogs may be more fragile. They’re more likely lớn have problems that affect their health, and you may find they’re less energetic. These dogs need yearly bloodwork và regular dental checkups khổng lồ make sure they’re living without any health problems.

Age brings some changes lớn your dog’s health và abilities, but not as many as many dog owners suspect. A senior dog that eats a biologically appropriate diet và gets regular exercise may be as spry as many adult dogs. But as your dog ages, their nutrition becomes even more important.

Your dog’s digestive system is less able to process foods effectively as they age, so high-quality protein becomes essential. Even if your dog has eaten kibble up until this point, you might want lớn consider adding some wet or raw food to lớn their overall diet. Digestive supplements can also make the protein your dog consumes easier for their toàn thân to access. Combination of approaches, such as adding some raw food và supplements to your dog’s normal kibble diet, could also make sure that they are getting the protein they need.

Early research conducted with rats indicates that dogs might live longer with a lower protein diet. In fact, when you look at many senior dog food formulas, they’re lower protein foods. But new studies have found that your dog should eat a high-quality, high-protein diet unless they have kidney or liver problems. At least 24 percent dry matter protein is still the goal.

Protein is only part of the puzzle. Boosting overall moisture consumption also makes foods easier khổng lồ digest. Raw frozen, wet food và rehydrated freeze-dried raw or dehydrated foods are all excellent choices. They’re all packed with moisture, and they’re easier for senior pets lớn chew. If you still want to lớn keep kibble in your dog’s diet, consider using some warm bone broth to soften & moisten the food before mealtimes.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating Their Food?

Have you noticed that your dog suddenly isn’t eating their food with gusto? Many dog owners report that as their dogs age, they’re less interested in their old food. Your dog’s change in palate isn’t a result of them becoming picky in their old age. Instead, it’s sometimes an indication that their nose is less sensitive. Mammals use their noses to lớn help them taste their food, so when their noses can’t detect normal smells, food becomes less palatable.

For dogs that eat kibble, the solution is adding more moisture-rich foods or at least some warm bone broth. & if your dog already eats wet or raw food, gently warming the food can also enrich the smell & hopefully increase your dog’s interest in their meal. Never heat raw food in a pan or microwave; place it in a sealed bag and place the bag in warm water.

Dental problems can also make your dog less interested in their food. When their teeth hurt (or if they’re missing a few) it can be difficult lớn crunch kibble or eat other harder foods. Any type of pain, be it from aging joints or other health problems, can also lead lớn a diminished appetite.


Young dogs may be able to lớn keep their teeth healthy by chewing, but as your dog ages they’re more likely to develop problems with their teeth. Small senior dogs are the most likely to have severe dental problems, & those dental problems are more likely to lớn cause damage to the jaw of your dog.

Dental problems may be difficult to lớn spot, so it’s important khổng lồ let your veterinarian kiểm tra their teeth at least once a year. Of course, if you notice any swelling in your dog’s mouth, or they have the tendency to lớn chew on only one side of their face, they may have a dental problem that requires veterinary intervention.

Protecting your dog’s teeth doesn’t necessarily require brushing. Combining a mixture of supplements, chews and other dental products can help preserve your dog’s teeth their entire life. After a dental cleaning is also a great time khổng lồ renew your commitment to keeping your dog’s teeth clean—the results of a thorough veterinary cleaning can last for years with proper maintenance.

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Just lượt thích any mammal, your dog’s eyesight will degrade slightly as they age. But many holistic veterinarians agree that inadequate nutrition is the leading cause of retinal degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma và other eye health concerns. Making sure lớn feed a biologically appropriate, balanced diet lớn your dog và supplementing with high-quality antioxidants can reduce the chance of your dog developing eye problems.

Some diseases can also cause or contribute to eye problems in dogs. Diabetes, in particular, can cause cataracts if not treated properly. Hypothyroidism may often accompany cataracts. Some dog breeds are also more susceptible than others to lớn certain eye conditions, so you may want to ask your veterinarian to check for certain conditions.

As your dog ages, you may notice that your dog’s eyes have a blue-gray haze. In most cases, this is indicative of lenticular sclerosis, which slightly affects your dog’s vision over time. However, don’t try to lớn diagnose this condition yourself: cataracts look similar. Luckily your veterinarian can use an ophthalmoscope to kiểm tra your dog’s eyes and make a diagnosis within minutes.

If your dog does have cataracts, they will need lớn surgery to prevent blindness. Many dogs with untreated diabetes & hypothyroidism have cataracts. That’s why keeping these conditions under control is particularly important for eye health. Untreated cataracts start causing blurring và vision distortion, but it’s difficult for owners lớn detect them until over half of the eye is affected.

Cataracts and lenticular sclerosis may be familiar khổng lồ many dog owners, but it’s glaucoma that’s one of the most common causes of vision loss in dogs.

Acute glaucoma causes eye redness & pain và must be treated within 48 hours khổng lồ prevent complete blindness in the eye. Elevated intraocular pressure in the eye can damage the retina và optic nerve over time, which leads to lớn a more chronic type of glaucoma. Common breeds such as Basset Hounds, Chows, Cocker Spaniels, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes & Poodles are all at risk for developing glaucoma.

Any type of glaucoma causes intraocular pressure, which can cause significant pain. Your dog might stop eating all their food, become withdrawn or lethargic, or spend most of their time sleeping. It’s easy khổng lồ think that these symptoms are part of getting old, not an actual symptom of eye disease. But after treatment, your dog should return khổng lồ their regular meals & their regular habits.

Retinal degeneration is a khung of eye disease that starts as night blindness. Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Poodles and Irish Setters most commonly develop the hereditary form of this disease. Any dog is at risk for sudden acquired retinal degeneration, which may be caused by certain disorders such as Cushing’s disease. There aren’t any treatment options for retinal degeneration, so immediately treating medical conditions that may contribute lớn retinal degeneration is crucial.

If your dog becomes blind, try lớn make their life easier. Avoid moving furniture. Apply an essential oil, such as lavender, to lớn corners và other places they might walk into. The essential oil helps them create a mental smell map to navigate. Also, encourage children and strangers to use their voices lớn communicate with your dog before touching them. Finally, Thundershirts can help with anxiety if your dog needs to lớn go to lớn an unfamiliar place.

Dogs that get arthritis typically get osteoarthritis. One out of five dogs will get this chronic condition during their life. Lượt thích many chronic conditions, osteoarthritis can be managed khổng lồ reduce overall symptoms. It’s doubtful that a single supplement, exercise or treatment will completely reverse symptoms, but implementing several strategies will help your dog live with less pain.

The best possible thing you can bởi vì to improve arthritis symptoms is lớn maintain a healthy body toàn thân condition score of 2.5 to lớn 3. A raw diet will help keep your dog lean, while reducing the inflammation that causes arthritis pain. Avoiding food that contain nightshades (such as potatoes), vegetable oil and grains can also reduce inflammation throughout the body, improving your dog’s health. Food processed using high temperatures are also best avoided.

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Supplements can tư vấn your dog’s overall joint health and reduce pain và inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin can help preserve existing joint health and help reduce symptoms of canine arthritis. Fish oil is a supplement that reduces inflammation. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C or E, can also help your dog’s arthritis. Commonly used herbal supplements lớn reduce arthritis symptoms include arnica, cayenne, nettle, boswellia, comfrey, devil’s claw root, ginger, licorice root, turmeric và yucca.

Different dogs respond better to different formulations & herbal blends. When you start any supplement expect lớn wait at least 4 weeks, và as much as 8 weeks to determine if it works for your dog. Make sure that you’re always using the correct dose and administering as recommended, without skipping a dose. But if you don’t see improvement after two months, stop this formula & try a new formula with different ingredients.

Using Heat to Help Your Dog’s Joints

Hot packs applied to your dog’s joints may prevent or treat stiffness. Before your dog and you go off exploring, 15 to 20 minutes of hot packs can make their joints more mobile và your walk more enjoyable. Hot packs after exercise can also help your dog’s joints, or you can use hot packs any time you notice stiffness. Be sure lớn wrap a hot pack in a towel & monitor the pack to lớn avoid overheating your dog’s skin.

Heated beds are also a way to lớn give your dog some mild heat therapy that can ease aching joints. But avoid heating pads or other items made for humans. These products may be too hot for your dog, but if your dog is in pain, they may not be willing lớn move. Under some circumstances, these heating pads can cause burns on your dog’s skin. So be sure lớn use products made for canine use, which only provide low-level heat.

Investing in an orthopedic bed will help support your dog’s joints và prevent stiffness. Many orthopedic beds are available with either passive warming or electric warming options. There are also warming pads you can địa chỉ cửa hàng to a bed your dog already loves. These options can reduce routine stiffness that will encourage exercise when they’re not sleeping. Always make sure that any heating element you use is made for pets to lớn prevent burns or other problems.

Helping your dog overcome osteoarthritis also involves routine changes for both of you. When you’re out walking, monitor your dog’s responses & try not to lớn walk them beyond their capacity. Sometimes splitting one long walk into two or more short walks works best.

Your older dog may want khổng lồ stop regular exercise because it painfully affects their joints. And the longer they skip exercise, the more their muscles weaken & provide less joint support. But many dogs that won’t exercise on land are happy to exercise in the water, where their joints don’t have khổng lồ bear any weight. Swimming or formal hydrotherapy in warm water is the exercise gold standard for all dogs. Your arthritic dog can benefit from it more than other dogs, so it’s worth seeking out a pool for swim sessions a few times a week.

Acupuncture & chiropractic treatments are two options that may reduce arthritis pain. You can also consider mas sa therapy. Some canine mát xa therapists will show you movements you can use khổng lồ help your dog on a daily basis.

Many dog owners feel they can control their dogs’ arthritis symptoms with a combination of these approaches. But don’t think that these approaches are enough for every dog. Arthritis is a painful condition, & ultimately your veterinarian may want to lớn prescribe medication to lớn help your dog live their best life for as long as possible.


We don’t know if your dog will have canine cognitive dysfunction, but studies indicate there’s a significant risk of this type of dementia in geriatric dogs. Like humans, some mild mental changes can be the result of standard aging, while significant symptoms are the result of this form of dog dementia.

Regular urinating in the house is a common warning sign. The occasional accident in the house isn’t cause for concern: joint stiffness or lack of muscle control could cause an accident. But if you find your dog is regressing in their overall housetraining, cognitive problems should be considered.

Aggression, grumpiness and other changes in dog or people interactions may also be a sign of cognitive decline. Even-tempered dogs may become irritable as they age. Arthritis or other painful ailments can also cause these symptoms, so talk khổng lồ your veterinarian to lớn determine if your dog has any painful problems that need treatment.

Some dogs stop sleeping through the night as they age. They may keep you up at night or bark at things that aren’t there. Some dogs reverse their day and night activities completely. They can start eating at night & sleeping during the day.

Overall disorientation is common for dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction. Your dog may become lost in familiar places or get stuck behind pieces of furniture. In extreme cases, they might have trouble finding their food or water dish.

An overall decline in activity level can also be a symptom of canine cognitive dysfunction. Some dogs just thảm bại interest in exploring their environment. Other dogs may start pacing or barking for no reason. Leg shaking và head bobbing are also common symptoms that point to brain decline.

Spotting any of these symptoms should prompt a conversation with your veterinarian. Many of these symptoms aren’t just a symptom of canine cognitive decline, so it’s worth getting an official diagnosis. Và if your dog does have canine cognitive dysfunction, there are dietary changes và supplements that can help support brain health và slow further decline.

Even with an exceptional diet, your dog has a chance of developing canine cognitive dysfunction. But there are some things you can bởi vì to support your dog’s overall brain health. A high-quality essential fatty acids supplement, such as a fish oil or green-lipped mussels, can make sure your dog has a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids.

Think about including medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) to lớn provide your dog with a fuel to improve brain energy. High-quality coconut oil is one common source of medium-chain triglycerides that’s inexpensive và effective. You can also địa chỉ cửa hàng supplements with compounds like Ginkgo Biloba và L-Carnitine to tư vấn brain health và function.

Commit to providing mental stimulation for your dog. Puzzle toys can provide stimulation when you’re not around, but they’re not enough to work your dog’s brain. It’s important to lớn interact with your dog by doing things that require them khổng lồ think. Despite the saying, learning new tricks is completely possible, and enjoyable, for old dogs. Try taking them to meet people and other dogs and schedule long walks in areas you haven’t explored yet.

If your dog starts roaming your house at night, talk lớn your veterinarian about possible solutions. There are some supplements, including melatonin and chamomile, that may help your dog sleep. A talk with your veterinarian will help you determine proper dosage and the right supplement khổng lồ use.

Your dog may experience gradual hearing loss as they age. As a dog owner, it may be difficult to lớn notice at first. & sometimes, it’s just selective hearing that affects us all when we’re asked to vị something that we don’t want to lớn do.

There really isn’t treatment available for the type of hearing loss in dogs that comes with old age. What you should verify with your veterinarian is that the hearing loss isn’t caused by an infection, tumor or other problem that can be treated. Even significant ear wax or hair can block the ear canal và cause some hearing loss.

If your dog does have hearing loss, it’s important to lớn keep them on a leash when they’re not indoors or in a fenced area. Also, consider adding an ‘I’m Deaf’ tag lớn their collar in case they become lost. For dogs that miss off-leash freedom, you can use a vibrating collar to train your dog khổng lồ stay and come to you. Then you can use hand signals to help communicate with your dog and ask them to sit, lay down or drop it.

It’s easier lớn startle your dog when they’re deaf, so adopt a policy of using vibrations, such as stomping your foot, to wake them up. Encourage people not to lớn touch them when they’re sleeping, so they won’t react fearfully when they’re woken up unexpectedly.


Once your dog reaches senior status, talk to lớn your veterinarian about bloodwork to kiểm tra your dog’s overall health. Blood testing can uncover problems with your dog’s liver, kidneys và other organs before noticeable symptoms. Early treatment can also give your dog a longer, healthier life. While we recommend yearly vet visits for adult dogs, twice-yearly veterinarian visits for seniors can be a great investment in their overall health.

Senior & geriatric dogs are at greater risk for developing heart problems, cancer and other conditions. Your dog’s immune system may also be weaker. That gives common ailments a chance khổng lồ gain hold in your dog’s body.

Any time you spot a change in your dog, you might want to lớn discuss it with your veterinarian. Dogs can’t talk, which means extra vigilance when you bởi spot a possible symptom of illness. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that health problems are just a byproduct of your dog getting old. With the right care, supplements & nutrition, your dog can have a lengthy, robust life.

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