In the Dog Zone

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senior dog black and white face

Improve the Quality of Life for Your Senior Dog

senior dog black and white faceIs the quality of life for your senior dog important to you? Senior dogs can have a great quality of life in their golden years with a little help from us, their owners.

My senior dog, Freckles, is a senior dog at 11 years old. I decided to adopt Dixie with Freckles in mind, after my neighbor told me how their senior dog perked up when they adopted another dog.

Freckles has become more active since I adopted Dixie and she enjoys spending time with her little sister. When the two of them met at the shelter, I knew it was a match.

Mental Stimulation

You can provide interactive toys for your dog to help keep their minds sharp. Hide treats for your dog to find or place treats inside of a toy for them to get out.  Also, you can teach your old dog a new trick or two.

If your dog is not trained to understand hand signals, teach them now in case they lose their hearing in the future. It will be easy for most dogs to learn hand signals when combined with words they already know.


As dogs age, just as humans, they can develop arthritis which can make it painful for them to walk. There are supplements you can give your dog that will ease their joint pain. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication for your dog if necessary.

You and your senior dog can take shorter walks, but go more frequently. Your dog will get the exercise they need, just not all at once which could tire them out.

If your dog is having trouble walking, push them in a stroller or pull them in a wagon so they can enjoy the experience of being outside.

Adopt a Brother or Sister

Adopting a sister for Freckles has greatly improved her life. We go on walks more often, although we keep them short for Freckles aging joints. She runs and plays so much more than she did just a few weeks ago, and she truly enjoys being with her little sister.

I took Freckles to the veterinarian last week for her canine influenza booster and all of the staff couldn’t believe how well she is doing for her age. People don’t believe me when I tell them she is 11 years old.

Freckles and Dixie are both receiving the canine influenza vaccine because there have been two cases of canine influenza just an hour away.

Comfortable Bed

You should consider getting an orthopedic memory foam bed for your senior dog. It will be more comfortable for your dog’s aching joints than a regular bed. Freckles loves her orthopedic bed and sleeps in it quite often.

Dental Work

Sometimes older dogs will develop dental problems that can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog. Your veterinarian can check your dog’s teeth and provide a treatment plan if needed.

Feeding Your Senior Dog

Seniors dogs need a dog food made for seniors, that includes glucosamine for quality of life with their joints. Senior dog foods will be lower in fat than adult dog food to help prevent obesity.

Stairs or Ramps

Providing pet steps or a ramp for your senior dog will make it easier for them to get on the bed and couch or in the car. Walking down the steps or ramp is better for their joints than jumping.

Spend Time With Your Dog

Senior dogs in their golden years don’t want to spend their time alone. If you don’t already, allow your dog to spend more time with you and to spend less time alone. Let them sleep in your bedroom in a soft bed or on your bed.

Freckles spends most nights in my bed, along with Dixie (the reason I have a king size bed!). Sometimes she will sleep in her bed that is in my bedroom. Either way, she is never alone at night.

senior dog asleepVisit Your Vet

Seniors dogs should see their veterinarian every six months for a checkup. As your dog ages, catching physical and mental changes is very important. Many times when something is diagnosed early, treatments are more effective and can make a difference.

Do you have a senior dog? Leave a comment or share a story about your dog below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.



  1. Hi Alice, seeing an older dog that I love, graying out in the face, makes me sad these days. I had to say good by to my 17 year old dogs last summer. One was a Pom X and the other a Corgi X, Joey and Bobo. My 6 year old Retriever is graying out in his face and it’s a reminder that larger dogs don’t live as long. I fed my two little guys a grain free diet for most of their years, never had to give them supplements. I found choosing a dog food that was grain free and had fish as it’s main protein was excellant for them. My present dogs are both Retriever Xs, one is 6 and the other 1 1/2, both are on a mostly grain free food, I think there is some barley in the ingredient list. I change their dogfoods fairly often as one of my dogs, the younger one, gets tired of one dog food after awhile. I also give them raw eggs from my own organically raised chickens which has given them shiney coats (3 times a week). I hope they live a very long time too 🙂 Like you, I think dogs are awesome 🙂 Great information.

    • Alice

      August 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      I’m sorry you lost two dogs in the same summer but glad that you had 17 years with them. I know what you mean about the graying faces, my Freckles’ face is almost all white at 11 years old. I’m glad you like the post and please visit again soon. Thank you for your comment.

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