You may have noticed your beloved pet greying around the muzzle and you’re wondering if they’re now a senior. If you have an old dog, here are some things to keep an eye on.

When is my dog a senior?

While dogs age at different times based on factors including their breed and size, an average age of seven years is when a dog is classified as a senior. This has a big impact on your dog’s level of health. You’ll want to keep an eye on a couple of other factors.

Monitor their movement

For senior dogs, arthritis is a very common condition. As they start to slow down, you may notice some general wear and tear that highlights a decrease in their physical condition, which can point to arthritis in dogs. If you see your dog limping or having difficulty getting up, you should consult with your local Greencross Vets to have your dog assessed. These are obviously key symptoms though keep an eye out for out-of-character irritability or tiredness as these can sometimes point to arthritis. If, following your consultation with Greencross Vets, your dog does have arthritis you’ll be given a plan to follow to help manage the symptoms.

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Switch to senior dog food

Once they hit their senior dog milestone, your pet will experience a change in their metabolism. Not only does this mean you should switch their food to one that specifically caters to dogs at this life stage – a senior dog food – and also keep an eye on how they are eating. The slower metabolism may mean they start to gain a bit of extra weight, plus they may be more lethargic. Keep their decrease in energy levels in mind when you feed them so their portions are a good match.

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Watch their behaviour

As they grow old, you senior dog might develop some changes to their mood. It’s good to monitor how they interact with other dogs and humans, so you can nip any big shifts in the bud before problems start to occur. Sometimes, changes in behaviour can be linked to health issues, such as arthritis, so be sure to check in with your vet if you see any changes.

The transition from adult to senior dog is nothing to worry about if you know what to watch out for. Feel free to chat to a friendly Petbarn team member for advice on senior dog food or the full range of products on hand to cater to old dogs.