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Eight Ways To Help Senior Dogs Feel Young Again

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Our family dog is almost 6 years old.

And while that converts to roughly 45 years old in human years, she has already entered her golden years, and, in the dog world, is already considered senior.

But just because a dog has become “senior,” it doesn’t mean that things are coming to a sad, hopeless end.

Instead, the absolute opposite is true: this is the time when they can relive their youth, feel reenergized and revitalized, learn a new routine, and take on a new purpose.

In an exclusive guide below, we take a look at some of the important tips to follow to make your old dog feel young again.

Just as all pet owners out there should carefully monitor their pup’s health at all times, and keep them out of harm’s way during any time of year, it’s equally as important to help them feel healthy and strong once more.

Scroll further to learn some of the ways you can help your dog feel young, healthy, and much more alive, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Is My Dog A 'Senior?'

Help old dogs feel young
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It can be hard to realize that our precious pups have entered seniority. After all, weren’t they just little puppies, scampering around and chewing everything up?

Between the ages of 6 and 10, dogs begin to exhibit signs of aging — like changes in sleep patterns, lower energy levels, relieving themselves indoors, and heightened social anxiety.

If your dog is entering her golden years, it’s a good idea to start adjusting her daily schedule to ensure she remains healthy, happy, and strong in her old age.

Below, we take you through some tips that will help your senior dog feel young again!

Tip #1: Maintain Their Healthy Diet

Help old dogs feel young
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Nutrition is probably the most important aspect of an aging dog’s life.

There are varying views on how to properly maintain a senior dog’s diet. Some say older dogs, like older people, should avoid eating high amounts of protein.

Others, like doggie health and wellness resource Fidose of Reality, think that older dogs should steadily maintain the diet that they’ve had all their adult lives.

They argue that feeding pups quality protein can help them maintain good muscle mass, and make sure that their kidneys stay in good shape.

In any case, it’s crucial to speak with your vet so that you can work out a diet that best suits your dog’s needs. Make sure that she gets plenty of vitamins and minerals!

Tip #2: Never Stop Playing

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Adequate mental stimulation is just as important as proper nutrition.

Your dog may have become a little slower, but the more you encourage play, the more they will feel constantly revitalized and energized.

Just remember that your level of energy will influence hers, so be creative in how you encourage her to play and stay alert.

Fidose of Reality suggests going for a swim together, slow walks around the block, and even joining a dog lovers group, where your dog can mingle with others her own age.

Tip #3: Keep Them Fit

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Over 52 percent of dogs in the United States are considered overweight, according to Dog Quality.

“Obese pets have shorter life spans than non-obese pets,” said Dr. Richard T. Goldstons, author of Geriatrics & Gerontology of the Dog and Cat.

Pet obesity can also lead to a host of health problems, including issues with the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

Even if your dog is experiencing a decrease in energy levels, it’s still important to exercise daily, in order to maintain a healthy body weight, and to keep the joints and muscles strong.

With an improved mobility, your dog’s body won’t have to work as hard when in motion. It will also reduce her chance of developing conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and respiratory impairment.

Tip #4: Give Them A New Purpose

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All dogs — even ones who are in their later years of life — yearn for a purpose.

No matter how old your dog is, she needs enough mental stimulation day in, day out, in the form of interaction with other pets and people.

One of the best ways to give them this opportunity for mental exercise is to give them some sort of routine they can look forward to.

They want to feel needed, to feel like they’re contributing to something greater than themselves.

Therapy and service dogs are great examples of this, but really any activity that allows your dog to perform simple, routine tasks with some sense of reward or fulfillment is great.

Tip #5: Teach Them Hand Signals

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As with humans, a dog’s sense of hearing gradually diminishes as she ages.

At the first sign of this, consider immediately retraining your pup to notice and follow hand signals, according to Fidose of Reality.

For example, you could teach her how to “come,” “sit,” and “go potty” by associating those actions with specific hand signals and verbal commands for actions she’s known throughout her life.

Tip #6: Stick To A Daily Routine

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Picking and sticking to a daily routine will greatly enhance the quality of your dog’s life in old age.

Since senior dogs are already more prone to experience mental confusion and a decline in cognitive function, it’s extra important to let them look forward to activities that are predictable.

According to Dr. Mercola, having a sense of routine will help reduce your dog’s anxiety and uncertainty, and greatly stall further mental decline.

Tip #7: Keep Those Gums Healthy!

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When plaque isn’t removed from the dog’s teeth and gums, it will turn into tartar, which irritates the gums and causes gingivitis.

If left untreated, this condition will gradually pull the gums away entirely, creating small crevices that attract even more bacteria, and lead to irreversible periodontal disease.

For many years now, canine gum disease has been linked to heart disease and inflammation of the heart valves.

So check with your vet to see what oral hygiene routine they recommend, then keep those chompers clean!

Tip #8: Let Them Sleep On The Bed

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Cold, hard floors can be really uncomfortable for older dogs. Just like humans, with old age comes creaky and arthritic joints, which can be very painful.

Instead, let your senior dog sleep on the bed with you! Not only will it provide her with physical comfort, but emotional security as well.

Be sure to make accommodations that can help her get up and down easily; many owners provide small steps or ramps beside their beds for ease of access.

If you’re not able to share your bed, provide her with a soft, cushiony dog bed, or one that’s elevated. This will help to ease her achy bones.

Please SHARE if you think all senior dogs deserve special love, care, and attention!