Caring for Your Elderly Dog

As your dog gets older, it is more important than ever to maintain his health and quality of life. As his body and needs change, you must adapt along with them. Here are a few general recommendations from a Treasure Coast veterinarian on caring for your senior dog.

Diet and Nutrition

A healthy diet and proper nutrition is always a necessity for dogs, but it is especially so for elderly animals. Getting the proper nutrients will help senior pets fight the signs of aging, keep their body systems in top shape, and help them stay active. Some dog food companies sell “senior diets.” These may be a good choice for your dog, or you may choose to add some nutritional supplements to your pet’s food. Talk with your Treasure Coast veterinarian to see what option might be right for your dog. For additional ways to support your senior pet’s health and comfort, see the article ‘How an Orthopedic Bed Can Help Your Senior Pet‘.


Alongside solid food, water is essential for elderly dogs. As dogs get older, their kidneys may not be working as well as they were before to clean the body’s systems—plenty of water will help the process along. Dogs of any age, but especially older pets, need to stay hydrated. Be sure to have water easily available to your pet at all times.


Your dog might not be able to run the length of the yard or climb hills like he used to, but he still needs his exercise. Lying around all day will only lead to obesity and other problems. Keeping a dog fit through his older years will help stave off a host of further problems.

Take your dog on shorter walks or other low-stress activities to keep him moving. Your Treasure Coast veterinarian can tell you how much is too much, and offer suggestions on safe and healthy activities for your pet.

See Your Vet Regularly

Problems can come up in an older dog’s life at any time. It is recommended that your elderly dog see his veterinarian at least two times a year. This way, your Treasure Coast vet can diagnose any problems that may arise, as well as make sure your dog is staying at a healthy weight and fitness level.

Check-ups can be a good time for you to ask your Treasure Coast vet about the above factors in your dog’s health – diet and nutrition, hydration, and exercise. You can also ask about specific conditions that affect older dogs and if your pet is predisposed to any of them. Keeping your dog healthy as he ages will not only make him happy, it will provide you and your family with many more years of happy companionship.

Contact us, your local animal clinic in St. Lucie County, FL!

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