7 Tips For Caring For An Older Dog

A senior dog sitting on the sofa

Everyone loves the excitement of a new puppy – the energy, the clubs and classes and the cuddles. But
sadly our older dogs get a bad press – a bit slow, a bit doddery and a bit smelly.
There are an estimated 9.6 million* pet dogs living in the UK, of which an estimated 40% are seniors over
the age of 7, which in human years is around 65 depending on the breed. And as our canine companions
are living for longer, it comes as no surprise that they are developing the same set of age-related issues we see in older humans.

Senior Dog Looking At The Camera

The message is clear: we need to help our beloved seniors to live their twilight years happy and healthy. So what can we do to repay their years of dedication and love?
This is a challenge healthy pet food company Vet’s Kitchen has decided to grab by the lead and run with and they launched a special Senior Dog Club. Sign your golden oldie up to the Senior
Dog Club and they will receive a Senior Dog Pass, a bag of senior dog food and some treats, along with
special senior discounts and promos and a quarterly newsletter with tips and advice on providing the best
care for your retiree. When they reach the grand ol’ age of 100 in dog years they will receive their VIP
telegram and some extra treats and discounts.
Fiona Firth, nutritionist at Vet’s Kitchen says, “A few small changes can make life easier for the senior dog.
Diet and weight are both important things to keep an eye on. Sadly, around 80% of seniors suffer from
osteoarthritis. However, one study showed a noticeable improvement in osteoarthritis after modest
weight loss of just 6.10 – 8.85% body weight** highlighting the importance of a senior-specific diet.”

An elderly Golden Retriever laying on the floor

Here are top 7 tips for caring for an older dog:

  1. Consider a senior diet. These often have added benefits such as higher levels of joint
    supplements. Senior diets and light diets, such as Vet’s Kitchen Healthy Weight, usually contain
    lower fat levels and fewer calories, so that you can continue to feed the recommended amount
    without your dog gaining weight.
  2. Treat your old dog like a puppy  – go back to smaller, more frequent meals if it helps their
  3. Older dogs will also find shorter, more frequent walks easier than one long walk per day. A
    change in exercise can help maintain better mobility. Give your dog time to sniff about and get
    the cogs working.
  4. Keep that brain active. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from cognitive decline. Use puzzle
    feeders or mental activities such as searching for treats. Many seniors still love their toys and
    these can help to keep their minds active.
  5. Keeping your old dog warm can help ease stiff joints. Keep beds out of drafts and if your dog will
    tolerate it, invest in a coat for colder weather.
  6. It’s okay to comfort your dog! If your older dog is feeling anxious (which can happen as they age)
    comforting them will NOT make them more fearful.
  7. Book a senior dog MOT at your vet. Regular check-ups can help catch diseases at an earlier stage making treatment more effective.
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