senior dog

Updated on 10/23/19

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Senior dogs have different care needs than those of a younger dog.

As some of you loyal loving subscribers know, our yellow Labrador, Jesse, passed away April 3rd 2019. In her late senior years, not only was she slowing down and unable to hear, but we also noticed behavioral changes.

We have our 9 year old black Labrador, Riley, and I am making sure she gets support and care to help her age slowly and as comfortable as possible.

Senior Dog Care tips and questions we will cover:

  • How can I tell if my Senior dog is in pain?
  • What do Senior dogs need?
  • Behavior changes
  • Senior Dog Care products

What is considered “senior” age for a dog?

Facts are that dogs age a lot faster than humans, it’s inevitable. In general larger dogs, like Labradors, age faster than smaller dogs. I have a post on dog breeds that give the life span for the top 10 most popular family dog breeds. You can refer to that for more of an idea of average life spans. A “senior” Chihuahua might be 10-11 years of age while a “senior” Labrador Retriever may be seven. Regardless, it’s good to know the signs and treatments that can help!

senior dog care tips, cbd hemp oil for dogs

How can I tell if my senior dog is in pain?

Humans often can’t tell when their dog is in pain because they don’t cry and may not always show physical signs, like limping. So paying attention to signs like withdrawal or aggression are important. A lot of the time, pain can cause behavior changes. A dog that is usually sweet and calm, that suddenly becomes aggressive, could be a sure sign they are in pain. I am grateful Jesse never showed any aggression!

Other signs may be:

  • Yelp or growling
  • Be sensitive to touch or resent normal handling
  • Be less active or distant
  • Limping
  • Become depressed and stop eating
  • Have rapid, shallow breathing and an increased heart rate

This is also very important if you are thinking about adopting a Senior Dog. If you have kids, they NEED to understand they can’t climb all over the new family member. Riley is 9 and we give her CBD oil everyday for her joint pain. It really helps her. See our blog on CBD hemp oil for dogs here. We affiliate with WIHemp Scientific who help to donate CBD to dog shelters!

senior dog care tips and products
My yellow Lab, Jesse, 12 Years old (passed away in April 2019)

Senior Dog Behavior changes

One night I was trying to sleep and Jesse kept wining and barking. Although she was laying right next to me on her dog bed, she would just bark at random. She didn’t need to go out so I just pet her, letting her know I was there, until she stopped. We would find her randomly staring off into space and barking for no reason.

I learned as dogs age they will most likely develop Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) or Canine Cognitive Decline (CCD), starting at age 10-ish for Labradors or large breeds. This is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. As the dog brain ages, the chemicals in the brain decrease. This can cause:

  • Disorientation or changes in learned behavior
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Sleep Interruption
  • Soiling in the house
  • Confusion
  • Compulsive behaviors

Anxiety, fear and compulsion can be one of the first signs of Cognitive Dysfunction. CBD Hemp oil can help, I wish I had known more about it when Jesse was still with us! They can also start to forget commands or wander around in what has always been familiar territory.

Once the dementia behaviors start, there is little we can do to reverse but we can slow the process and help them to be more comfortable.

senior dog care tips, Great Dane
Duke, our Senior dog rescue Great Dane lived to be only 9.

What we can do to help them age comfortably

If you recognize any of these changes in your dog as they get older, talk to your vet. There could be other medical conditions going on and treatment options available. For example, if they are having accidents in the house, it could be due to a medical condition.

  • Exercising your senior dog is important and can help them stay mentally and physically fit! I have many blogs about this. Using their brains so they stay stimulated helps slow down the aging process. So keep working with them! They also lose muscle mass, so we have strength and conditioning products for senior dogs here on our sister website.
  • Nutrition is also key! I wrote about how bad commercial dog food is. You need to know what they are eating! I feed my dogs Taste of the Wild and they absolutely love it. I have seen healthy changes in them since I switched and very shiny coats! Riley has lost weight and the dogs seem so much happier! Healthy snacks like pumpkin, carrots and cucumbers also help!
  • Omega 3 supplements can help their immune system as a source of healthy fatty acids. (Taste of the wild has this!)
  • Melatonin can help senior dogs that have trouble sleeping at night. It can aid them if start having their days and nights mixed up.
  • Milk Thistle is good for their eyes and liver.
  • CBD hemp oil for pain and anxiety. AKC says to make sure you buy organic and not to price shop. You want the good stuff. That is why we get ours from WIHempScientific. They specialize in not only the CBD products, but the hemp extraction (verses pre-made CBD) and Cannabinoid testing.  (Which not a lot of hemp companies offer.) You can scan the QR code of any bottle to get the test results. Here is a link for the CBD hemp oil, and you can use code DOG10 for 10% off!
  • You can find more senior dog products for low cost at Chewy! Like ramps, orthopedic dog beds and more! Plus Taste of the Wild dog food!
senior dog care tips, senior dog products
Our herd of fur babies when Jesse was still with us.

Seeing our dogs reach their senior age is so hard. I wish they lived longer! But since they are only here a decade or so, it’s so important to keep them healthy so they are physically with us as long as possible.

It does give a little relief to know they are connected to us through the soul. So it may be a shorter time they are with us in this physical lifetime, but they are always with us!

I hope you found this helpful. Many blessings to you and your dogs as they grow older!

Dog Bless!

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Reference: AKC Kennel Club

Published by Mysecretdogblog

I am a mother of 4 humans and 4 dogs (currently). A dog is man's best friend and I am here to show their heart to the world! I will touch on dog training, health, benefits and lifestyle!

Join the Conversation


  1. Senior dogs, while still cute, need to be cared for differently because of the changes in their body. These are great information you have here on how to keep senior dogs healthy.

  2. Right now I have little babies (2 and 1) but I hate to think of the growing older – we love our furbabies so much!! Thank you for this helpful post!

  3. My step-dads dog is getting pretty old and no longer really likes to be pet because he has a few fatty lumps, but we’ve learned how to still interact with him without irritating him.

  4. Your dog reminds me much of our yellow lab that we said goodbye to two summers ago. She definitely took a piece of my heart with her. Unfortunately she was only 10. It always seems too soon, no matter how old they are. We now have a sweet Chihuahua that is middle-aged. This is great information to help usher her into her senior years. P.S. We also feed Taste of the Wild. Great food!

  5. I remember going through this with our old dog when I was a child. Not a great time for anyone. Thanks for the information, it’s helped me understand some things.

  6. Our old Golden Retriever had arthritis, so I gave him over the counter supplements for it (recommended by the vet). It can be so hard when our furry family members become older–keeping them as healthy as possible, comfortable, and loving them is key.

  7. OMG ! I did not know dogs can have this issue too. I always learn lot from your posts. I talk about it with my family . Thank you for giving out exercise and diet tips that can slower it.

  8. This made me tear up reading it. My fur-babies are 6 and 4 and I hate to even think about them getting older and not being around someday.For now, they are both very high energy and ornery as can be! It is so important, though, to know what to look for and how to care for them as they transition into their older years.

  9. Thank you so much for this post, my Frenchie just turned 9 and I am keeping an eye out for any change in her behaviors

  10. It’s hard to find experienced people on this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  11. I never had a pet before , but will surely consider having a dog one day.

  12. I have a puppy and thinking of her aging breaks my heart! I want her to be a puppy forever!

    1. I know the feeling. I can’t wait to get JJ, our new yellow lab, home. Losing Jesse was so hard!!! I am glad you are able to educate yourself while your pup is young though! Plenty of time.🐾❤👍

  13. Very informative! I’ll have to watch out for these signs/symptoms when my dog gets older.

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