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5 Tips to Help You Care for Your Senior Dog

March 1, 2022
a senior golden retriever being petted by a person

According to research, older dogs are less likely to get adopted than young dogs and puppies. One reason people are hesitant to take on a senior pet is fear that an aging animal may be hard to care for. If you have or are considering adopting an older pet, these tips can help.

Save Money by Grooming at Home

Senior pets may have more expensive healthcare needs than younger animals. One way to defray those costs is to save money on other expenses, such as grooming. The average cost of a grooming session is $60-$90. You can save that money by grooming at home instead.

You can purchase brushes, combs, shampoo, nail trimmers, and other supplies at your local pet supply store. You may want to pick up a waterproof collar if you don't have one. Otherwise, the color from your dog's collar could leach out and stain your dog's fur. Make sure you have towels and treats handy.

If you aren't sure how to groom your dog, there are instructional videos available online. If your dog has mats or other difficult to deal with grooming needs, try doing the everyday grooming at home but taking your pet to a pro for tougher jobs.

Be Prepared for Accidents

Many senior pets develop incontinence or have trouble getting up in time to go outside to use the bathroom due to painful joints. This can lead to accidents in the house. Enzymatic cleaners can be useful for cleaning stains on carpeting and furniture.

If you have tried do-it-yourself methods and none of them worked, consider contacting an upholstery or furniture cleaner. Before you schedule an appointment to meet with a cleaner to get a quote, read online reviews on a platform like Choose a few of the companies with the best reviews and request referrals from previous customers. Watch out for cleaners who only have all-in-one cleaning tools, as these aren't as effective against specific issues such as pet messes.

Keep Your Pet Active

Just like humans, as animals age, they lose bone and muscle mass. Pets that don't stay active tend to lose more muscle and bone and can become frail as a result. Making sure your dog gets regular exercise helps reduce muscle and bone loss and can help maintain a healthy weight. If your pet suddenly becomes less active, don't assume that it's a normal part of aging. Your dog may be in pain and a trip to the vet could be in order.

Purchase a Heated Orthopedic Bed

Senior pets with arthritis may get some pain relief from a heated orthopedic bed. Making sure your dog gets plenty of restful sleep can reduce pain and improve mobility and quality of life.

Adjust Your Pet's Environment

Tile or hardwood floors can make it difficult for your senior pet to get up and may also lead to slips and falls. Putting down carpets or rugs can help. You can also purchase dog socks that have rubberized, non-slip soles to provide older dogs with better traction. If you have stairs in your home, consider adding ramps. Ramps can be useful to help your animal get up onto furniture or into the car as well.

Caring for a senior pet can be a challenge. However, ensuring your old friend has the best possible quality of life is worth the effort.