CGC and Older Dogs

CGC dog owners sign the Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge, pledging to take care of their dogs and provide for their health, safety, and quality of life. This commitment starts when the dog comes home as an 8 week old puppy and lasts throughout the dog’s life.

This week, I visited a friend who had a ‘senior’ dog, a sweet, little mixed breed named Sadie. Sadie’s main activity these days seems to be eating. “She’e getting older. I won’t have her long so I give her what she wants,” my friend said.

It’s amazing how much psychology can go on when it comes to owners and their relationships with their dogs. Sadie is only 10 years old. Yes, her black muzzle is white now, but Sadie doesn’t need to be morbidly obese.

She doesn’t need to be in a position where she has a hard time getting up and moving around. At the age of 10, with no major health issues (except her weight related problems), Sadie and her owner could have plenty of days together taking walks and enjoying the back yard.

There’s a very special beauty in older dogs with white faces.

Keeping just a few things in mind, we can help our senior dogs have great, active lives.

Older Dogs: Tips for A Happy, Healthy Life

Senior Specials: Watch that Diet

For both older people and older dogs, appetites can decrease with age.

* Feed smaller meals more often if your dog is not able to eat all of his dinner.

Since the senses of smell and taste can decrease for older dogs, dry kibble can be more appetizing with the addition of warm water to release the flavor.

* Avoid large amounts of ‘people food’ that can cause weight gain. Too much weight causes problems for joints and organs. Check with your vet to determine if your dog needs a Senior diet.

* Thirst can increase with age.  Make sure your dog always has access to clean water, both indoors and outside.

Keep on Movin’

Use it or lose it!  Muscles will atrophy from lack of use, so keep your older dog active. Nice gentle walks, playing ball, and a daily massage from you will be much appreciated and will keep your dog fit.

Don’t overdo the exercise. Your grandma wouldn’t want to go jogging with you and it’s also not a good idea for your 14-year old dog.

Value of theVeterinarian

For illness or medical problems, your dog may need a visit to vet. It’s a fact of life—health issues can increase as we and our pets grow older. The value of the peace of mind that comes from having a trusted veterinarian for your older dog is priceless. This is the time in your dog’s life that you are most likely to need veterinary services, so a vet who is not only competent, but who you like and trust is a must.

Behavioral Health is Important Too

In addition to caring for your senior dog’s physical health, remember that his behavioral and emotional health are important too. This means don’t let your older dog lay around doing nothing day after day while you take the younger dog off to training classes.  Your senior dog may enjoy a ride in the car and trip to the park, even if once you get there all you do is sit on a blanket and enjoy the fresh air together.

There is a special beauty to older dogs and when we provide them with a quality life, we build memories that we will cherish forever.

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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