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My dog will be 10 next year and I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. For him and for me! We got him when he was just 5 months old. Not quite a puppy as he already had a home before us but he was still very young. And I was only 19 years old too – I’m 28 now! And the crazy thing is, I can still remember that day we brought him home like it was yesterday.
As anyone with a dog will understand, looking after your pet’s health and needs is one of the most important things in your life. We all want our pets to be as happy and healthy as possible. But of course, there’s this little thing call time and nobody is exempt from it. Not even out furry friends.
Although thinking and talking about our dogs getting older can be hard and upsetting, I think the best way to do it is logically. We all go through different phases of life where we have different needs. I mean, I have VASTLY different needs now to what I did when I was 18 yeas old!
And the same goes for our pets. It’s just about adjusting to those needs and this new phase of their life.
Of course all dogs are different and that’s worth considering. From breeds with different lifespans to previous health problems or injury. Two 10 year old dogs might look and act very different from each other. My boyfriend’s late dog for example, was 14 when he passed away and up until about 6 months before, you’d have thought he was around 6!
My bear is still doing well. He’s had a few health problems for a few years now, including hip dysplasia and ligament problems in his legs. We use various medications and joint tablets for dogs to keep it under control, as well as 6 monthly injections which seem to be keeping everything at bay for the time being.
Although he is getting older and can’t go for walks as long as he used to, he’s still very active, very vocal, very cheeky and very alert. I mean, he’d spot a squirrel from 6 miles away. And we’re aiming to keep it that way for as long as possible.
If you’re in a similar position and have a dog that’s getting a little older and you’re hoping to make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and them, here are some points to consider:
Don’t miss vet check ups and appointments
I mean you shouldn’t do this anyway, whatever their age. But definitely not when they’re getting older and potentially more likely to suffer from or start suffering from health conditions. Anything that seems a bit amiss, get them checked out, like you would with yourself. And don’t miss those yearly boosters and check ups!
Make sure your home is safe for their needs
For older pets, getting around and getting on and off of furniture might become an issue. Just like you’d baby proof your house when you have a toddler, think about how you can pet proof your house too and make some adjustments here and there to make things easier for your pet. Perhaps adding extra steps or ramps so they don’t have to jump, if their joints are affected.
Consider their diets and adjust accordingly
A balanced diet plays a huge role in your dogs life – whatever breed and whatever age. But things may need to be adjusted slightly when they get older. If they’re lacking in a bit of energy, then they may not be exercising as much and might be at risk of putting on weight or even obesity which comes with it’s own set of issues for dogs. So consider a lower fat diet and less treats (and more mindful treats) to compensate.
Be patient when taking your dog for exercise
Your dog may get slower with age and have less energy but they still need to be walked every day and have exercise regularly, to maintain a healthy weight and good overall health. If you’re unsure as to how much exercise your elderly pet should have, your vet surgery should have plenty of advice.
Spend more time with them
This point will benefit both you and them. All I’ll say about this one is that you don’t want to regret not spending time with them in their final few years. They will want you by their side and you should cherish every single day that you spend with them. Make memories, take photos, have cuddles and make their life as great as possible.
And finally… think about it
I know, I know, the absolute LAST thing you want to do is think about your pet coming to the end of its life. But end of life care doesn’t just apply to humans. And with pets being just as much a part of the family for so many of us, it’s important to have these conversations with others and with ourselves.
These are some really helpful tips. My dog is now 7 but she still acts like a puppy a lot of the time. She has become more stubborn as she has aged though.
Awh bless her!
This is what I’d hate about owning a pet (and being ill) x
Spending time with them is the most important, I’d love another cat to care for xx
Totally agree xx
It’s hard when pets get older as they need different care xx
I was absolutely heartbroken when my 13 year old cat died last year. We could see her showing down and she’d been through a lot in her life but our vet still thought she had years left. Her beautiful heart gave up 24 hours after an op and it was like she chose her time x
I’m so sorry to hear that xxx
This is so important topic. When getting a pet we always think of that playful little puppy or kitty. But the life after 10 years start to change and you need to give more to your pet than you receive from it.
Yes, you’re absolutely right!
This is such a helpful post. My dog will be 10 next august and I can’t believe it. He still plays like w puppy. He needs to stop ageing now.
Mine will be 10 next year too!
This has been my life as of late. My best friend is now 12, which is getting up there, especially for a bigger dog. She still has a ton of energy and loves to play like a puppy, but there are also times that I see the age setting in. The biggest advice I have for anyone is to listen to what your dog is telling you. She wants to run and play and have a good time, but she’ll start showing me when she needs to slow down. She lets me know when she needs an extra nap or when her hips are sore and I need to turn on the gas fireplace so she can bask in the comforting heat for a bit. They really do communicate with us, we just have to listen.
Yes! That’s such a great tip.
I haven’t had a pet in ages but I know the emotional toll seeing our furry loved ones age, be in pain, or pass away. I think you’ve covered some great tips here for handling this process
Thank you 🙂
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My family dog is getting along in years now, and we have to be a bit more patient with him during daily walks. These are such thoughtful tips for every dog owner, so thank you for sharing. 😊
Thank you 🙂 Patience is so key!
Thank you for this heartfelt post, Jenny! Xx My first dog, Meg, is 11 now and is definitely getting slower with her movements… this was a big wake-up call for me to make things easier for her!
It’s so hard to believe that I was 12 when we brought her home, I remember holding her for the first time as a tiny puppy only to be told that she was mine to keep!
Bianca xx | http://www.missmonro.com
Awh bless you and her! They really are part of the family.
Great post! My cat is going to be older soon, and this is a good post for getting used to everything that means 🙂 thanks for sharing, amazing writing as always x
Thank you 🙂
Vet appointments are so important, because it is so important.
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
They sure are x
I think people do forget that a pet’s needs change as they get older, they need to eat food to suit their age, they need to have regular check ups at the vets and they always need a lot of love! A great post Jenny x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Totally agree. Just like humans!
I hate the thought of Bear getting older and hopefully we’ve got many more years to come but I can’t believe he’s already almost 2! It’s flown by and it’s scary how quickly time passes! This is all fab advice though Jenny and will be so useful to many with older pets xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
It really is! I can’t believe he’s almost 2 either. I still remember when you first got him! I think having a pet you love so much really makes you realise how fast time flies xxxx
I hate the thought of Bear getting older and hopefully we’ve got many more years with him to come but I can’t believe he’s already almost 2! It’s absolutely flown by and it scares me how quickly time can pass. This is all fab advice though and will be so useful to many with older pets xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
I’ve gone through this with my cats before, and despite how hard it was, we always knew it was for the best. Now we’ve got two dogs and two cats, it’s not always easy to give each one the time they deserve, but from now on I am making sure that each one of them knows they are loved! x
Emily | emiliamarlowe.co.uk
Awh that’s great to hear. At least they have the company of each other!
They get older just as humans do but they love unconditionally
This is such great advice and a lot I haven’t thought about before. I have two cats who are both seven and I’ve recently had to switch their food to the 7+ which made me really think about what little old men they actually are now. They still act like kittens most the time though 🙂
What I Have Wrote
Awh bless. At least they still act like kittens!
I understand how you feel. It is sad to look at your pets as they get older. Spending time with them is also important.
It is but you gotta remember it’s natural and it’s life!
Its really strange seeing a energetic pet turn old, but it’s nature right? I did like that my dog wanted to snuggle more in the end, she’d always lay on top of my feet!
Exactly. Aww, bless her!
My cat is 16 years old now, we’ve made her life as comfortable as we can now and the silver lining about working from home is we can spend as much time with her before the inevitable. She’s still kitten like now and again, so when she suddenly walks slow or looks old it catches us out! She’s been my baby for a long time, I cant imagine life without her. Some great tips here, thanks for sharing.
Awh bless her. I guess lockdown and pandemic hit at the right time for you – you definitely get to spend a lot of time with her now!
My cat is 13 years old now and I know she’ll pass in the next few years. I still don’t know how I’m going to handle it emotionally.
I don’t think we ever know until it happens.
Thank you for the great tips on figuring out what can be a daunting process. I especially liked the tip on thinking about how to make things easier for our furry friends to get around the older they become.
Thank you 🙂
So glad to find a post like this today as it really hits home. I’ve grown up surrounded by pets but the biggest influences have been our 3 jack russells. We did have 4 at one point and sadly we are now down to 2. I lost my beloved Max in August, he was 12 years old. I struggled so much watching him age and get poorly; but we did all that we could to give him the best and most comfortable life right until the end. It’s hard watching the other 2 age; but they’re still little firecrackers. Lovely post Jenny!
Awh that’s good to hear! At least you’ve had that experience and know how to make your remaining 2 as comfortable and happy as possible.
My dog is turning 13 this year and I cant believe how fast the time has come. We never think about their lives ending when we buy them as puppies, and before we know it they’re getting slower and older. Thanks for these tips! They have been helpful!
I know, it’s so sad. It’s definitely something important to think about when you get a puppy in the first place.
Rob’s cat is getting old and it is sad to see, even though I am really allergic to him! This is great advice for any pet owner of any kind. Our animals really are a part of the family and deserve the same level of care x
Oh no! That’s not good! They really are x
Our older cat is 17 now and we have noticed he has started to struggling with jumping onto the bed, so we have put a few boxes at the bottom from old beauty products which give him that step up x
I love that you’re helping him out
This is lovely! Luckily our bed is low for our older cat but she cant get onto windowsills anymore to watch the birds, I’m going to do this!
That’s a great idea. 17! That’s a great age!
My sister is a veterinary nurse and she sees a lot of animals at the end of their lives, and it breaks her heart. I think she would agree with all of this information – especially spending more time with them!
Wow really? It takes a special sort of person to go into that career. Hats off to her.