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Senior Dog Care
October 1, 2022

Did you know that our canine friends don’t all age at the same rate? Small dogs may not become seniors until they are 11, while a large pup may be in his golden years by age six. Medium-sized dogs usually fall somewhere in the middle. No matter what size your pooch is, he’ll need some extra attention as he ages. Read on as a local Bellaire, TX vet offers some advice on caring for Fido as he grows older.

Adjust Activity Levels

Keeping your canine pal active is very important! Most dogs need at least a daily walk. As Fido grows older, he’ll start to lose stamina, and will tire out more quickly than he once did. Keep a close eye on him, and take care not to overexert him.

Offer Small Comforts

Sometimes it really is the little things! Make sure that your four-legged pal has a good orthopedic bed to snuggle up in when it’s cold. Fido may also appreciate a pet fountain, or perhaps some pet ramps to help him get in and out of the car.

Revisit Fido’s Diet

Senior dogs have different nutritional needs than their younger counterparts. They aren’t as active, so they don’t need as many calories. However, they often benefit from senior-specific treats and kibble. Fido may also benefit from certain supplements, such as glucosamine or fish oil. Ask your vet for recommendations. If you’re considering home-cooked meals for your aging dog, check out our article ‘Tips On Cooking For Your Dog‘ for nutritious and safe recipes.


Older pups are much more sensitive to weather extremes than young dogs are. Make sure your furry pal is warm in winter and cool in summer. Be extra careful when it’s hot out!

Careful Monitoring

Keep a close eye out for signs of potential illness. Some of the things to watch for include limping, reduced appetite, reluctance to play, withdrawal, weight gain or loss, respiratory issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in Fido’s behavior or vocalizations. Contact your vet right away if you notice anything off.

Love And Tail Wags

Senior dogs are truly a joy to be around. Our canine companions tend to get very sweet and affectionate over time, and really just want to hang out with their humans, collecting ear scritches and belly rubs. Pay lots of attention to Fido, and just make sure he feels loved and safe.

Our Advice on Senior Dog Care in 2024

When do dogs become seniors?

Dogs become seniors at different ages, largely depending on their size and breed. Small dogs often reach their senior years around the age of 11, while larger breeds may enter their golden years as early as age 6. Medium-sized dogs typically become seniors in between these two ranges. It’s essential to recognize this transition to senior status because it signifies the need for adjustments in their care routine to address the changing health and nutritional needs as they age. Always consult with your vet for personalized advice regarding your dog’s aging process.

What are the general needs of older dogs?

Older dogs generally require adjusted activity levels to match their decreased stamina, orthopedic beds for comfort, and senior-specific diets to meet their nutritional needs while accounting for lower activity levels. Supplements like glucosamine or fish oil can support joint health. Since they’re more sensitive to weather extremes, ensuring they stay warm in winter and cool in summer is crucial. Regular veterinary check-ups to monitor for age-related health issues are essential, along with plenty of love, attention, and accommodations for any mobility challenges, such as pet ramps for easier access.

What specific health conditions are senior dogs predisposed to?

Senior dogs are predisposed to several specific health conditions, including arthritis and joint issues, obesity, dental problems, heart disease, liver and kidney diseases, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which affects their mental health. Vision and hearing loss can also become more common as dogs age. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of these conditions. If you’re in Bellaire, TX, our clinic is equipped to help manage your senior dog’s health, offering tailored care to ensure their golden years are comfortable and happy.

How often should senior dogs get veterinary checkups?

Senior dogs should have veterinary checkups at least twice a year. As dogs age, they become more susceptible to health issues that can progress quickly. Bi-annual visits allow for early detection and management of age-related conditions, ensuring any necessary adjustments in their care or treatment can be made promptly. During these checkups, a thorough examination, including dental assessments and possibly blood work, will help monitor their overall health status. Regular vet visits are a key part of keeping your senior dog healthy and comfortable in their later years.

What end-of-life care considerations should you be thinking about?

End-of-life care considerations for your dog should include comfort measures, pain management, and quality of life assessments. Discuss with your veterinarian about palliative care options or any treatments that can ease discomfort. Consider the environment at home, making it as stress-free and comfortable as possible, with easy access to their favorite resting spots. Nutritional support tailored to their needs and ability to eat is essential. Evaluate their daily joy and pain levels to make informed decisions about their care. Lastly, discuss with your vet the signs that it might be time to consider humane euthanasia, ensuring a peaceful and dignified end to your beloved companion’s life. It’s a difficult but important part of pet ownership, emphasizing love and respect for their journey.

Do you have questions about caring for a senior dog? Contact us, your local Bellaire, TX animal clinic, anytime. We are here to help!