As much as you’d love to have a puppy for forever, the fact is dogs age. It’s no surprise then that the process of managing and taking care of older dogs versus one in their youth are two entirely different things. But just like your little puppy needed your guidance, mentorship, and love, so too does your senior dog.

When is My Dog a Senior?

This is a breed-specific answer, as dogs age at different speeds. As a general rule of thumb: older dogs come into their seniority quicker than smaller dogs.

For instance, a toy breed might not be considered a senior until 10-12 years of age, whereas a larger breed (Great Dane or German Shepherd) can be considered seniors well before a decade has passed.

Senior Dog Care

Here are some general guidelines for senior dog health and care.

Veterinarian Checkups

Now more than ever it’s important your pup goes to the veterinarian. Be sure to take him for routine checkups and that the veterinarian carries out a body examination each visit. Internal health issues can brew without showing any external symptoms.

Nutritional Diet

Make sure your dog is on a high-quality diet. You need to create a meal plan based on your dog’s weight, lifestyle, and age. Use this very diet to manage your senior companion’s health. For instance, if your dog’s knees are weakening and he can’t run as hard to burn off his normal food intake, then reduce the portions to avoid weight gain.

Grooming Routine

Make sure your senior dog’s hygiene is optimal. Continue to brush his teeth, examine his coat, and work to keep his paws clean. Then motivate your pup to exercise.

It shouldn’t shock you to know that the older your dog grows, the more his energy will wane. Still, your pup will need to move. It’s your job to make sure he keeps up with his exercise, so long as he’s capable of doing so.

These are only a few tips among hundreds. The most important thing to consider when taking care of your senior dog is that he can require lots of time, care, and money.