It feels like only yesterday that I met and got to know Robbie, but actually it’s been a whole two years and although I still treat him like my baby, he’s now officially a ‘senior dog‘. It seems in the last 6-12 months, he has really started to age, getting a little grey beard, growing older and wiser everyday. He soon will turn eight and for a Labrador that is classed as the ‘Golden Years’, so things are going to starting to change as he enters the next chapter of his life. He’s now not the little puppy I thought I had, but my little pensioner and we now have to start to think about how to look after him for this stage of his life.
Not only has he aged in appearance changed, but his behaviour has started to change too. He’s a lot calmer on the whole – although he still has his crazy moments, they are fewer and far between. If he is comfy he’ll just look at you, he’s not moving from that comfy spot for anyone! Instead of jumping up from the sofa when we arrive home, it’ll take him longer to get to the door. But, he’ll still greet us with his happy face and wagging tail, even if he’s a little slow off the mark. His back legs are getting sore and arthritic, but he tries not to let that slow him down too much.
To give him a helping hand as he enters his ‘Golden Years’ we’ve had to change the way we care for him, so with that in mind, here are my top tips for looking after a senior dog to keep them happy, healthy and full of life:
1. Nutrition –
Start feeding your dog specialised ‘Senior Food’. Robbie loves Simpsons Premium Senior Food
as it’s designed for dogs his age and helps him with his joints. His coat is also super shiny since he’s been having this food.
2. Supplements –
Robbie takes Glucosamine for his joints
and it really helps him, his can be bought from any pet shop (or online) – I just pop it with his food and he doesn’t even notice!
3. Regular vet appointments
– as a dog gets older it’s important to get their health checked regularly, to check for signs of illnesses and ailments early, rather than leaving it too late. This can be super costly, so to prepare we’ve also ramped Robbie’s dog insurance
policy up to cover any additional costs from our regular vet visits.
4. Hydrotherapy – this is a well known method for healing both animals and humans alike. Being plunged into a warm pool of water will allow him to relax and gently exercise without putting too much strain on his poorly back legs, it all sounds rather lovely! In the next couple of weeks we are taking him to House of Hugo – the cutest doggy boutique hotel in Brighton where they do hydrotherapy and all sorts of doggy treatments (including aromatherapy massages for dogs!) I can’t wait to take him for his first session, I wish I could join in myself!
5. Adapt to make your dog more comfortable – We have made some changes, we take him on slightly shorter walks and help him into the car so he doesn’t have to jump. We also bring his bed into the living room, meaning Robbie doesn’t have to run up and down the stairs too often. This means when he wants to play he’s well rested and able to have some fun doing his favourite things!
6. Keep an eye on them – I think one of the main differences is that I keep an eye on him all the time, I notice any changes in his behaviour and movement and check he is OK and comfortable. Nine times out of ten, he’ll be fine but as dogs can’t speak it’s so important to keep an eye on them as you never know how they might feeling, but if you know your dog well you should notice if something is up.
So, we are muddling along as Robbie plods along into his Golden Years, with lots more happy years to come, this is just another stage of his life. I’ll end with some cute snaps and a video from a post I wrote last year
– just to show theres still life in the old dog yet!
(For more snaps of Robbie, follow him on Instagram
– Post written in collaboration with Argos Pet Insurance