One-third of the 52 million dogs in the United States are considered to be elderly. As a professional pet stylist, my heart melts whenever I am given the chance to groom an elderly dog.
Typically, older dogs are less active and nimble than their younger counterparts, and they may experience aches and pains that they did not as puppies. Here is a list of grooming tips you may implement into your pet’s care routine to make life easier for you and your pet:
What qualifies a dog as a senior?
The classic rule of thumb for comparing a dog’s age to that of a human is seven dog years for every human year; this is generally correct. We must however modify this rule to be more precise for grooming purposes, as the size and breed of a dog have a significant impact on the age result.
Smaller breeds such as toy poodles, terriers, and pugs are considered seniors between the ages of 10 and 12. At ages 5 to 6, the huge breeds, such as Great Danes and Mastiffs, are considered senior citizens. Most veterinarians and pet insurance companies consider a dog seven or eight years old to be senior.
Should Senior Dogs be groomed?
The answer is straightforward: yes! Grooming is crucial for the entirety of a dog’s life, but it becomes increasingly important as the dog ages. The greatest opportunity to record any changes in your dog’s health is during a grooming appointment.
When washing and drying your dog, groomers frequently detect health issues before the owner or veterinarian does. They examine the dog’s ears, teeth, gums, joints, skin, and coat, as well as feeling for lumps, bumps, and sore regions. In addition, they detect the onset of dementia, vision loss, mobility issues, and weight gain or decrease.
Groomers always know what indicators to look for and how to accommodate changes as each dog ages, which has a significant impact on both the dog and its owner.
Ensure that your pet is standing or laying on a soft, nonslip surface during brushing. This will help him feel more secure and comfortable. A simple rubber bathmat can serve as a comfortable platform for your dog to stand on while you brush.
Ensure that your brushes and combs are in good condition. If the teeth are twisted or broken, they can cause skin abrasions and coat breaking. If you are unsure of the type of dog brush and comb your pet requires, see a professional groomer.
Choose softer, gentler brushes for senior dogs. As dogs age, their skin may lose elasticity and resilience, and many of them develop sensitive lumps and bumps.
Keep grooming sessions quite brief. It is preferable to groom your pet for 10 minutes a few times per week as opposed to expecting him to undergo lengthy grooming sessions.
Frequently, older dogs must have their nails clipped more frequently. If the nail tips are touching the ground when your dog is standing still and you can hear them clicking when he walks, it is time to clip them. Long nails can cause discomfort and make walking difficult.
Whether your senior pet is slipping and sliding when walking on smooth surfaces, check to see if he has excessive hair growing between his toes and on the bottom of his foot. If so, eliminating the hair may improve your dog’s traction. Consult a professional groomer for assistance if you lack the necessary confidence.
Extreme temperatures might be an issue for aging pets. If you have always kept your dog’s fur short, you may discover that he now shivers in cold weather when he never did before. Consider a longer hairdo for your pet to keep him or her warmer.
Untangled, clean hair insulates your pet more effectively than matted, tangled hair. If you have a breed of dog that requires professional grooming, it may be preferable to get him groomed more frequently so that his coat can effectively protect him from cold and heat.
Check the eyes, ears, and lips of your dog each time you groom him. If debris has accumulated in the eye corners, you can soften it with warm water on a cotton pad or gauze pad. Soak the region, then carefully wipe away the buildup from the eye. Ensure that the ears do not have any discharge or odor. Check the mouth for plaque accumulation on the teeth, redness or swelling of the gums, and an objectionable odor. Consult a veterinarian if you notice an unpleasant odor, swelling, or redness in your pet’s ears or mouth.
Inspect the “sanitary” zones. Occasionally, stiffness makes it harder for senior dogs to maintain certain areas as clean as they did when they were younger. Helpful if you trim the hair around the area to prevent urine or feces from becoming trapped in it. Use baby wipes to clean the hair if it becomes dirty after your dog defecates in order to maintain things clean.
If you bathe your dog at home, place a nonslip mat in the tub or sink so the dog has solid footing. Unless your veterinarian advises a particular shampoo for your dog’s skin condition, opt for a gentle, basic washing shampoo. Rinse, rinse, and rinse still again!
After the bath, absorb as much water as possible using warm towels, then brush your pet’s coat gently while using a warm (never hot) dryer. Ensure that the dog is as dry as possible to prevent frostbite.
Grooming sessions are a wonderful way to bond with your dog, as well as an excellent opportunity to observe any behavioral changes. As you brush your pet, you may notice thinning hair, skin irritations, growths, or lumps that you should monitor and discuss with your veterinarian if they give you worry.
Older pets typically like grooming sessions, since you can reach some itchy regions that they can no longer reach themselves, and the added attention appears to be especially appreciated. It is a pleasure to witness your freshly brushed pet stride away, as if he realizes how good he looks after being groomed and pampered.
- It is difficult to stand for extended periods of time if you have arthritis, back, or hip issues.
- Mobility difficulties make entering and exiting the bathtub difficult.
- They may be afraid of not knowing where they are or what is occurring due to vision impairments.
- They are frequently confused due to dementia, and their wandering makes it difficult or impossible for them to remain still.
Grooming is really vital!
Grooming is one of the fundamental ways we care for our pets, on par with healthy nutrition, physical activity, and cerebral stimulation.
As dogs age, their skin thins, they may develop growths, and they may lose weight and become fragile. Many older dog owners are scared to even brush their pet for fear of inflicting harm on them. thus they do not.
You may be shocked by the number of groomers who have discovered “something strange” on a dog they were grooming, such as a lump or growth that the owner never noticed. How many lives have been saved by early detection of probable health problems?
Extra hygiene care is also vitally needed for senior dogs.