How to care for a senior dog

Jenny is a mom, wife and copywriter with an obsession for all that is dog. Before their two babies were born, she and her husband adopted Stella (2010) and Duchess Kate (2011), two miniature dachshunds from Montreal’s Animatch. “When I was pregnant with Nolan, people would ask me what I was going to do with the dogs,” remembers Jenny. “I always gave the same answer – EVERYTHING.”

Today, their best adventures are shared as a pack. They go for walks together, the dogs tag along to family functions, and they vacation where 4-legged friends are welcomed and encouraged. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course, but Jenny says the key has been teaching the kids respect and knowing that the dogs have their limits.

Now 12 and 14 years old respectively, ‘Big Stel’ and ‘Tiny Kate’ are well into their golden years and living their best life. We asked the family to share some tips on how to keep a senior dog in tip-top shape.

Jenny’s quick tips for caring for a senior dog

Keep them active: They may not be as quick as they used to be, but you just can’t replace the exercise and mental stimulation that come with a walk. Stella tends to have more energy so she’ll run ahead with her ‘brother’ Nolan. Duchess, on the other hand, prefers to hang back and sniff every blade of grass.

Go for check-ups: Just like people, dogs need a little more attention in their senior years. Vaccines and wellness checks are money well spent.

Brush their teeth: Dental problems tend to come to the forefront when dogs reach their senior years. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have started brushing their teeth on day one,” admits Jenny. Visits to the doggie dentist are high on the To Do list.

Watch their weight: Extra weight can put a lot of pressure on the heart, joints, and lungs. Miniature Dachshunds like Stella and Duchess Kate are especially susceptible to back injury, which makes a healthy weight doubly important.

If you’re thinking of bringing a dog into your home, remember that it’s a lifetime commitment. Depending on the breed, you’re looking at 6 – 16 years (or more) of not only unconditional love and wet kisses, but time and money too. There are also many dogs in their golden years available for adoption that can make a wonderful addition to your life.

“My long-term goal for these dogs is that they live forever. Not going to happen, I know, but a girl can dream.” – Jenny

Are you sharing your life with a senior dog? Tag us in photos on social media with #neverstopwagging and @earthrated