Senior Dog Care Tips

Senior dog care is so important in order to ensure your dog’s later years are filled with as much love, companionship, and attention as when he was a puppy. Your precious pet may be a little slower but he can still have a high quality life as he gets older.

According to the ASPCA your dog is a senior when:

  • Small breeds (less than 20 pounds) - 7 years of age

  • Medium breeds (21 to 50 pounds) -7 years of age

  • Large breeds ( 51 to 90 pounds) -6 years of age

  • Giant breeds ( 91 pounds or more) -5 years of age

The Coton de Tulear is known to live a relatively long time for a dog (14-17 years). When your dog reaches this age, he will need a different kind of attention from you and may have special health or training needs.

5 Tips to ensure the best quality of life for your senior Coton

Senior Dog Care Tips

When your dog reaches his senior years, it's important to pay attention to any changes in physical and emotional behavior.

Obviously, if your dog has serious health conditions, it's important to work with your veterinarian to come up with the best plan.

Changes can creep up slowly and are often hard to notice from day to day. Certain things to look out for are change in appetite and weight, excessive thirst, lethargy, signs of pain, limping, anxiety, lack of mental sharpness, and changes in behavior.

sleeping coton de tulearNighty Night

Senior Dog Care Tips: The secrets to adding years to your dog's life

  • It’s essential for a thorough exam at this age in order to prevent any unnecessary health issues down the road. Basic diagnostic tests (blood, urine, hearing, and vision) can help evaluate whether medical intervention is necessary.
  • Make sure your dog gets just enough water. Give enough to hydrate and keep his body functioning properly, but notice if he is drinking too much because this can be a sign of kidney problems or diabetes.
  • If you live in a any extremely hot or cold climates make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible.In the heat, don't let your dog stay out or over-exercise. Make sure he has access to plenty of water while he's out in the heat.In the cold, your older dog can be much more sensitive to the cooler air than he was when he was younger. Don't let him stay out too long and you may want to keep him warm with a sweater or snow boots. Check out some tips from our visitors for coping with winter weather.
  • It’s important to reduce stressful situations and abrupt changes in daily routines with an older pet.

  • If you have to leave your pet alone for any period of time, have someone he knows and trusts come and take care of him. Older dogs need more attention than young ones so it's not advisable to leave them alone too long. If you have to board your dog, get him used to the kennel by taking him for short trips to the kennel BEFORE you have to leave so he's not left alone in a strange place with strange people. You don't want him to be put in that kind of stressful situation.

dog stairs

  • Examine your dog's bedding. If he sleeps with you, is he able to get in and out of the bed easily? Pet stairs or a pet ramp can help. If your dog sleeps in his own bed, is the cushion soft enough? Warm enough? Is there enough room for your dog to stretch out? For years, Luc preferred to sleep on the tile floor no matter how many beds I had for him. But recently he's been sleeping in my bed or on his padded egg crate dog bed. There are all kinds of dog beds to help your senior sleep more comfortably. If your dog has arthritis or joint pain, memory foam or orthopedic beds can help. As your dog ages, regulation of body temperature can become impaired. As a result, they become less tolerant of heat and cold. There are cooling beds and warming beds that can provide relief. Senior dog care is often about making your dog as comfortable as possible.
  • It may be time to change your dog's diet. Most dog's metabolic rate slows down as they age and can put on weight if their diet doesn't change. Cutting down on treats and table scraps can help. Or switch to snacks like carrots, celery sticks, apple or cucumber slices. There are commercial foods that are developed specifically for the nutritional needs of older dogs. And of course if your dog has health issues such as diabetes or heart disease, it's important to work with your vet to determine the best diet. Whatever food you choose, make sure it's high quality and as always, any dietary changes should be incorporated slowly.
  • Dental care is even more important as your dog gets older. Watch for signs of broken or loose teeth, sudden bad breath, drooling, and difficulty chewing. Teeth cleaning can reduce the chances of heart, lung, and kidney disease. It's such a simple thing that can prolong the life of your dog. 
  • Do you have a good relationship with your veterinarian? This is especially important as your dog ages and may need more medical attention. Trust is an important factor in finding a good vet and it's also a plus if you find someone who is familiar with this rare breed. Many people are turning to homeopathy veterinary care, which can be very safe and effective for older dogs.
  • Does your dog limp or have difficulty going up and down stairs?  Your vet can determine if your dog has arthritis by taking X-Rays. The sooner your get a diagnosis, the more chance of slowing down the progression of symptoms. There are all kinds of senior dog care that can help your dog feel better. Some dogs have success with massage, hydrotherapy, medication, losing weight, acupuncture, whirlpools, supplements and herbs. 

You want your Coton to be as happy and healthy for as long as possible. Learn more about senior dog care by clicking on these important links about caring for your older furry friends:

Related Links for Senior Dog Care:

What should you feed an older dog?

How to keep your older pets healthy

How to treat or prevent canine obesity

House Training Older Dogs

Is pet health insurance right for you?

Good dental care can prolong your dog's life

Exercise for seniors

Is homeopathy right for your dog?

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