There’s a lot of confusion among pet parents as to what makes a dog a “senior.” The discrepancies come from a variety of factors – age, breed, overall health and lifestyle. I personally believe that every single dog becomes a senior at a different time in their life, just like people do. But how do you know when your dog is a senior? I’ve come up with a list of signs to look for your in precious pup, and I also have suggestions for helping your aging companion.
How do you know when your dog is a senior?
Facial markings are a very obvious sign that your dog is aging. Their chin, nose, eyebrows and forehead will most likely begin to age first. These facial areas will become gray or white, and they may even wrinkle a bit. But don’t think of this change as sad – your pup has simply grown wiser!
If you’ve noticed Fido has gotten a little bit slower on their feet, they may be heading into their senior years. Humans begin to slow down as they get older, and it’s the same for dogs! Luckily there are some fantastic joint and mobility chews from NomNomNow that I highly recommend. These will help strengthen your dog’s joints and reduce pain. I use them for Wynston!
Changes in Appetite
Changes in your dog’s appetite can be a sign of aging. Or if they are eating slowly, they may be having issues with their teeth. If your dog has a drastic change in appetite but they are still young, you probably want to see your vet. And if they are reaching their senior years, consider changing their meal plan to something more age appropriate. NomNomNow meal delivery is a great option for senior dogs who cannot chew kibble anymore.
Less Responsive to Sound
Hearing loss is incredibly common for senior dogs. Don’t get mad if your pup isn’t responding to you as quickly as they used to – they may not be able to hear you as well!
Change in Habits or Routine
Maybe your dog is sleeping more. Perhaps they’ve found a new spot to sleep. It’s common for aging dogs to change up their routine. However, if your dog is staying up all night, having frequent accidents or howling at “nothing,” they could be suffering from canine dementia. See a veterinarian with your concerns.
Lack of Interest in Previous Hobbies
If your furry friend doesn’t want to play as much or exercise regularly, they may be heading into their senior years. Joint support chews may help if they are in pain, and you may consider purchasing a dog stroller so your dog can still get plenty of fresh air.
The age of your pup is another obvious sign that your dog is aging. However, every breed is considered to be a “senior” at a different time in their lives. A Great Dane will be considered a senior around 6-7 years old, while a Chihuahua won’t reach senior status until around 14+ years old. The smaller the dog, the longer they live.
Ways to Help Your Aging Dog
It’s important to assist your dog in any way possible as they enjoy their golden years. Here are a few ways you can help your aging dog so they can continue living their very best life.
Invest in a Quality Diet
Senior dogs have specific diet needs as their bodies and metabolism continue to change. It’s typically best to start purchasing “senior” dog food if necessary, or switch to a softer diet if your pup has trouble chewing kibble. We highly recommend NomNomNow dog food, as it’s human-grade and incredibly easy for any dog to eat – even if they are missing most of their teeth!
NomNomNow is fresh dog food delivered straight to your door. Wynston absolutely loves it, and I appreciate the convenience and quality of it. NomNomNow also offers chicken jerky treats as well as joint and mobility supplements.
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Get Annual Teeth Cleanings
You should start to take your dog in for annual veterinary teeth cleanings when they hit adulthood. The average age is around 5-7 years old. Getting your furry friend’s teeth cleaned once a year will help prevent dental problems in the future. If your senior dog has healthy teeth, they won’t experience pain and difficulty eating like many dogs do.
Purchase a Pet Ramp
I absolutely swear by pet ramps. We have one from Royal Ramps that Wynston and my disabled cat, Joey, use on a daily basis. It really came in handy when Wynston broke his foot, and I know it’ll be necessary and he gets older. Royal Ramps can be pricey, but I also like these cozy pet stairs from Amazon. Ramps are meant to allow your pup to easily access the furniture or bed. You can also purchase one for the car!
Joint and Mobility Chews
I give Wynston a glucosamine chew every day for joint and mobility support. It’s taken me years to find a supplement that Wynston actually eats, which is also from NomNomNow. We also recommend the hip and joint chews from Pet Naturals of Vermont.
Adapt to Your Dog’s Changes
As your dog ages, you will notice that their routine and schedule may change. It’s important to remember that this is OKAY and you should adapt accordingly. Be patient with your pooch, as getting frustrated will only cause further difficulty with the situation.
So, how do you know when your dog is a senior? There are a variety of factors to take into consideration. Every dog is different, and it’s imperative that you get to know your pup’s specific needs for the present and future.
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