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How to care for older dogs

Older dogs are often much easier and less time consuming than young dogs. They make great companions and more often they are housetrained, have already received basic training and can be left home alone.

What to feed older dogs

Consider changing your dog’s food to a senior diet and feed them smaller meals two to three times a day. Avoid feeding them snacks in-between meals as obesity can be a problem in older, less active dogs.

Exercising older dogs

They may be less active, but it’s important your dog still has daily walks to keep their brain active and joints mobile. Allow your dog to set the pace and try to go for frequent short walks rather than one long walk.

Look after your dog’s health

Have your dog checked by a vet at least twice a year and look out for signs of:

  • loss of appetite
  • coughing or breathing difficulties
  • growths or lumps on his body
  • weakness, lameness or reluctance to exercise
  • increased thirst or urination
  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • a fever or an increase in heart or breathing rate
  • changes in behaviour
  • check your dog’s teeth regularly

Changes in your dog’s behaviour

Be aware that older dogs are more sensitive to loud or sudden noises and tend to sleep more. Make time to play calm games with them such as scent exercises to help them remain mentally active. Many behavioural changes in older dogs are due to an underlying medical disorder. They can be a little less tolerant of being picked up or receiving lots of attention.  They can become a little grumpy if they are disturbed when resting owing to sore joints so children need to be advised to treat them with more care and respect – seek advice from a vet if you have any concerns.

There is never a shortage of older dogs at our rehoming centres looking for a new place to call their own, with many years of life left to enjoy.

Unfortunately, older dogs are more difficult to rehome. By offering one of our senior residents a loving new home you will be making a personal contribution to animal welfare. Take a look at all of our older dogs currently looking for homes.

Still looking for advice?

If you have any questions about your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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