A dogs physical and mental condition determines if the dog is considered senior and needs special care. Larger dogs are considered senior at an earlier age than smaller dogs. A dog that weights 50 pounds or more is considered a senior dog when he reaches 7 years old.
A dog is considered a senior dog at 9 years old if he weighs 20 to 50 pounds. A dog that weights under 20 pounds is generally considered senior when he is about 10 years old.
Senior dogs have special needs just like senior humans have special needs. You must make sure your senior dog gets the care he needs and deserves.
As your dog gets older he cannot stand the cold or heat as well as he did when he was younger. If your dog has a short and thin coat you may have to get your dog a doggie coat for the cold weather.
When dogs get older they sometimes have to go to the bathroom more often as they cannot hold it as well as they did when they were younger. They may have accidents.
Older dogs are not as steady on their feet as a younger dog. If your floor is slippery you may want to put down skid runners down where you dog walk the most to keep him from slipping and hurting himself.
If your dog likes to sleep on the bed or couch you may have to pick him up because he may no longer be able to jump up there. You can also get ramps so he can get on and off the bed by himself. You can try fixing a comfy bed on the floor.
One of the most important things for a senior dog is proper nutrition. Consult your veterinarian to help you with a proper diet for your dog and he may also need supplements. Your dog should visit a veterinarian at least twice a year for check ups. Your veterinarian should give your dog a comprehensive check up.
Be sure to check your dog for any lumps and bumps that may have developed. Check him for sore spots and wounds that are not healing. Be sure to watch your dogs eating and drinking habits and his weight. Check to see if your dog in unsteady on his feet. Check to see if your dog has a hearing or seeing the problem. These are all problems that can develop in senior dogs.
The most common problems your senior dog will develop are problems holding their urine, glaucoma, cataracts, constipation, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, arthritis, hearing loss, kidney failure, and obesity. There is also the chance your dog may develop cancer or diabetes.