All dogs no matter what the age want to be loved. They want nothing more than...

Your Guide To A Healthy, Happy Older Dog

For most of us, daily life is busy and sadly dog owners often forget the importance of providing special care for their senior dogs.  While eating and napping are important for older dogs, we take for granted that everything must be in check since he’s eating and resting.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that! 

It’s important for your old dog to receive an all natural nutritious diet, exercise on a daily basis, a healthy dose of tender loving care and regular visits to the veterinarian to ensure he remains healthy and happy.  Here are some tips on providing the special needs of your older dog:

 Preventative Maintenance

Weak or unhealthy older dogs should never be subjected to annual shots and you should discuss these concerns with your veterinarian.  Don’t be afraid to speak up; after all this is a family member.  A “titer test” can actually determine which vaccines a dog needs and most dogs DO NOT need annual vaccinations.  Holistic veterinarians use titer testing on a regular basis.

Traditional topical flea treatments are loaded with chemicals that are unhealthy for both young and old dogs. It’s especially important for older dogs to maintain a strong immune system in order to fight off sickness and disease.  Traditional topical flea treatments weaken the dog’s immune system leaving the dog vulnerable to more than just fleas.  There are some excellent all natural treatments for flea and tick prevention that work really well. 

Heartworm prevention must not be taken lightly no matter what the age of your dog.  These spaghetti like worms are transmitted by mosquitoes and take up shelter in your dog’s heart and adjoining blood vessels.  Many dogs die from heartworm annually and if it doesn’t actually kill the dog, it makes them very sick; often requiring surgical intervention to remove the worms from the heart.

*Note: The main ingredient in most heartworm medicine is Ivermectin.  Collies, Collie Mixes and the other Herding Breeds are sensitive to Ivermectin, so take this into consideration before placing any of these breeds on Heartworm medicines.   

Since heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, you can talk to your dog's Vet if you live in the Northern U.S. region regarding the seasonal transmission period.  However, if you live in any of the warmer states, then monthly prevention is a MUST.



Keep Your Old Dog Strong

Again, it’s important to keep your old dog’s immune system strong.  Besides a good food, you can do this by providing a good source of probiotics in powder form (not yogurt).  When I consult with owners of older dogs, they’re often surprised at how much stronger and active their senior dog becomes after including probiotics as part of their regular diet.   

You also want to include omega 3 fatty acids as part of your older dog’s daily diet.


It doesn’t matter what the age of your dog, a wholesome, all natural diet should always be your main focus as a dog owner.  However, this is critical to older dogs and dogs fighting illness or disease.  The key is always prevention and preventions starts with a healthy diet, so the sooner you start, the better off your old dog will be.  Dogs thrive mentally and physically when their nutritional needs are met.

Avoid preservatives and dog foods that include more grain than meat protein.  Stick with all natural premium dog foods and avoid those that you find in supermarkets – even if they’re popular dog foods.  Look for foods that offer meat as the first two ingredients.   

Your senior dog needs a high quality protein source along with vitamins and, minerals.


 If your older dog suffers from arthritis, keep in mind that exercise is still very important.  Although arthritic dogs require shorter walks, they still need daily exercise to loosen up stiff joints and keep the blood flowing as well.      

Swimming is a great form of exercise for older and arthritic dogs.  If you are just starting an exercise routine for your older dog, begin with short walks and gradually increase the time providing your dog can handle it. 

Tender Loving Care

All dogs no matter what the age want to be loved.  They want nothing more than to be beside their master and best friend.  While he might not be as frisky or as fast as he used to be, this doesn’t mean that he no longer wants to please you. 

Cuddling, gentle grooming and light activity are just a few ways to provide some much deserved TLC  for your older dog.  You can find more excellent tips for caring for your older dog at:

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 4/25/2018: 11:11:33 AM ET
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