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Old Dog Care: Senior & Aging Pets

As your faithful companion grows older, it's important to be mindful of their changing health and wellness needs. Our San Gabriel veterinarians shed light on what it means to have a senior dog and how you can support them in their golden years to maintain optimal health and happiness.

Senior Dogs & Aging

Many of us have heard the widely accepted notion that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years, a method used to assess a pup's life stages and lifespan. However, this concept is not as straightforward as it may seem. Many factors, such as breed and size, influence a dog's aging process. 

Smaller breeds of dogs age at a slower rate compared to their larger counterparts. As a general rule of thumb, people consider small breeds to be seniors at around 10 to 12 years of age, medium breeds at 8 to 9 years, and large and giant breeds at 6 to 7 years. These guidelines help you understand the aging process of your furry companion.

Veterinary Care For Senior Dogs

As your beloved furry friend grows older, you can expect some changes in their appearance, behavior, and overall well-being. While some age-related changes, such as a graying muzzle, simply occur as part of the aging process and do not need veterinary attention.

It's important for pet owners to be vigilant and watch for any signs that may indicate a need for a visit to the vet. Some of the most common signs to look out for include:

  • Weight fluctuation (gain or loss)
  • Poor or worsening hearing/vision
  • Sleep abnormalities (sleeping too much/not enough)
  • Mental dullness
  • Dental disease and tooth loss
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Arthritis and joint issues
  • Reduced liver, kidney, and heart function

With age, your furry companion may start showing signs of aging, making it important to schedule routine wellness checks with your veterinarian. Doing so allows your vet to identify and treat any emerging geriatric conditions early on, ensuring your dog's comfort and health.

During these exams, your vet will also evaluate your senior dog's nutrition and mobility and suggest dietary or exercise changes that can improve their well-being. Regular checkups and blood work are crucial for keeping your senior dog healthy, so book an appointment with your vet today.

How to Take Care of a Senior Dog

Below are some tips from our San Gabriel vets on how to care of aging pets.


As your furry friend enters their golden years, it's crucial to keep a close eye on their nutritional needs. With age comes a decrease in physical activity, leading to a higher risk of weight gain and potential health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint pain. 

To ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy, consult with your veterinarian about adjusting their diet. This could involve monitoring their daily calorie intake or switching to a weight-loss formula food.

For senior dogs with specific health concerns, there are prescription diets and supplements available that cater to their needs. Your vet can recommend the best options for your pooch. 

Your dog's physical well-being benefits from proper nutrition, and it also supports their mental health as they age. Dogs can experience cognitive decline, but a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and regular exercise can help keep their minds sharp and alert, just like humans.

Exercise (Physical & Mental)

As your furry friend grows older, it's crucial to keep both their body and mind active to ensure their overall well-being. A consistent exercise routine can help maintain a healthy weight and strengthen joints. 

However, it's important to be mindful of your dog's capabilities and comfort level during physical activity. Consider shorter, more frequent walks if you notice any changes in their enthusiasm for walks or runs. Any signs of discomfort, such as your dog slowing down on walka, could indicate underlying health issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia, so don't hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for proper treatment.

Senior dogs require mental stimulation in addition to physical activity. You can keep your furry friend's mind sharp and engaged by learning new tricks or playing interactive puzzle games. Don't let age hold your dog back; bring out their inner pup and keep them mentally stimulated with fun and engaging activities.

How to Keep an Old Dog Happy & Comfortable

Aside from ensuring they are receiving adequate veterinary care, nutrition, and physical and mental exercise, there are a few things you can consider doing to help your aging four-legged friend live out their golden years comfortably:

  • Orthopedic dog bed, heated dog bed (or heating pad/mat set to low heat under a blanket in their sleeping area) for dogs with joint pain or stiffness
  • More carpeting around a home with tile, laminate or wood floors can reduce slipping or tripping hazards for your older dog (some dogs also do well with dog socks that have non-slip soles)
    • Pet gates (or baby gates) can be placed at the top or bottom or stairs to prevent tripping or falling hazards
  • Improve accessibility with dog ramps to help your pet go up and down the stairs, on furniture, or into cars; elevating their food and water bowls can also help with neck and back pain 
  • If your dog has vision issues, seeing at night will be harder for them; some nightlights around the home will help them navigate

Geriatric Dog Care in San Gabriel

As your pet reaches their golden years, it's crucial to provide them with the specialized care they need to maintain a high quality of life. Geriatric veterinary care is an essential aspect of your pet's overall health and well-being, and it can help extend their life and keep them healthy. 

At Temple City Animal Hospital, our veterinarians understand the unique needs of senior pets and dedicate themselves to providing the best possible care. We believe that preventive care and routine wellness exams have the power to catch and treat emerging health issues before they become more serious.

Click here to Learn More about Senior Pet Care

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

At Temple City Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of regular checkups, especially for aging pups. That's why we're ready to schedule a wellness exam for your furry friend. Don't wait. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment. 

New Patients Welcome

Temple City Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about caring for pets in San Gabriel area. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Book Online (626) 287-1173