5 Important Tips to Caring for Senior Dogs


We love our pups… and as they age, sometimes it gets more difficult to understand their changing needs. Many pet parents struggle with the realization that their dog is getting older. But it’s important to recognize the signs of aging and take measures to ensure your dog’s quality of life doesn’t change. Here are some things you can do.


Good nutrition is important at every age, but, feeding your pet the proper nutrition in their senior years is critical to keeping them active and playful.

Do your research. There is a lot of good dog food brands out there… but… there is also a lot of garbage. Feed your dogs like you would feed yourself. Stick to food with the least amount of “filler” ingredients, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Focus on quality protein and wholesome ingredients. Consider issues your pet may have such as joint mobility issues or allergies, and seek out a food that can help. Also talk with your vet about the type of diet your dog needs. Your vet can make recommendations about quality brands, ingredients or special formulas your senior dog needs to thrive.


Your dog may be slowing down but that doesn’t mean he should spend his days curled up on the couch. Exercise is critical to keeping your dog healthy, both physically and mentally. Your dog may not be able to go on long hikes with you but shorter, less strenuous walks will keep him feeling good.

Exercise also helps to keep your pet youthful. Keeping a pet lean as they age is one of the most important factors in preventing health issues. Extra pounds on older dogs means more stress on their body, including joints and internal organs. If you feel your dog needs to shed a few pounds, talk with your veterinarian about a weight loss and exercise plan.

Happy Tails can help if you feel your dog would benefit from an extra walk during the day.
We offer mid day dog walking and play visits that will fit your schedule and keep your pup healthy!


A lot can happen in between vet visits. Senior dogs should see their vets at least every six months for a check up. Many diseases and health issues, if caught early enough, can be treated.

Ask your vet about common issues specific to your dog’s breed, like predisposition to kidney or heart problems, diabetes or severe arthritis. Find out what the early warning signs might be so you can be on the lookout. This is also a good time to check in regarding your dog’s diet and exercise routine as well.


Regular dental care is important throughout your pet’s life but especially for seniors. Dr. Fred Metzger, veterinarian and contributor to the Caring For Your Senior Dog report, says, “older dogs and cats with neglected teeth are time bombs ticking.” The report explains how tartar build up can cause gingivitis, which can cause bacteria to get into the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your dog’s organs.

A great way to contribute to your senior dog’s good health is to keep his teeth and gums in tip top shape with regular at-home brushing and yearly professional cleanings by your vet.

As they age, our dogs need our care and attention even more. It’s up to us to monitor their health and take measures to keep our pets as healthy and happy as possible in their senior years.

Happy Tails is committed to keeping your senior pet – and ALL your pets – happy and healthy!
Its our top priority, and we are there for you.


  1. Great post! I completely agree with the tips listed here. My Golden Retriever, Sadie, is almost 12 and is definitely showing her age. We’ve been careful to do most of these, but your final point, dog dentistry, is something my wife and I could certainly do better at. It’s funny how we take such care of our seniors, but when it comes to senior pet care, we often neglect “man’s best friend.” Thanks for sharing!

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