Watching your dog age is an inevitable part of being a pet owner. One minute you have a wily puppy on your hands, and in the blink of an eye your senior dog is enjoying their golden years. Similar to humans, dogs might need different kinds of care as they reach senior status.
Grooming is an act that becomes harder for dogs as they lose mobility, flexibility, and energy with age. Luckily, pet owners can help their best friends enjoy their later years in comfort, dignity, and style with a few senior dog grooming tips.
Perhaps your senior dog is not as limber as they used to be, or their energy has waned. While pets are often masters at hiding discomfort, it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling pain. If your dog is entering or in their senior years, it may be time to change their grooming routine.
Senior Dog Grooming Tips
If your dog has a high maintenance coat that requires hours on the grooming table, it’s time change your dog’s hair style to something more practical. Elderly dogs have a hard time standing for long periods of time, and for longer-haired breeds, grooming can take up to three hours. Keeping their coat short and neat speeds up the grooming process making it more manageable for your pup. Plus it is easier to maintain at home.
If you have a long-haired breed that shouldn’t be cut short like a Husky or Golden Retriever, having them brushed out more frequently is better than a single longer session. Ask your groomer about setting up a practical grooming schedule for your senior pet.
Bathe less frequently
Bathing becomes extremely difficult at home and at the groomers as dogs age. Older dogs, especially with arthritis, have difficulty getting into the tub and standing for the duration of the bath. We recommend reducing the frequency of bathes for your dog. So for example, if you are bathing your dog once a week, try every other week or once a month. You will be saving your dog from a lot of pain and discomfort.
Trim the nails more often
While you may think of trimming nails as aesthetic, it is actually a functional need for dogs that can lead to health problems and issues with posture if not maintained properly.
Senior dogs are more sedentary than their younger counterparts so their nails are not naturally ground down by concrete, gravel, etc. This causes their nails to grow out quicker. For senior dogs, we would suggest checking in with the groomer every two weeks to have your dog’s nails trimmed.
As dogs get older, dental hygiene becomes a top priority. Untended gums can result in tooth decay, gingivitis, and stinky breath. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is vital for maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene and preventing trips to the vet.
However, if brushing doesn’t suit you or your dog, you can seek out a non-anesthetic dental cleaning service. Once a month, Smile Specialists come to Fitdog to do oral exams and dental cleanings on dogs.
Keeping the fur around your dog’s genitals trimmed short is a must for maintaining a clean derriere. This becomes more important for older dogs as their squat isn’t what it use to be. Sometimes poop, pee, dirt, or leaves can get trapped around their rear end. Needless to say, this can end up causing bad odors not to mention matting and sometimes even creating a nice home for critters. Best to go in for a quick sani trim at the groomer.
Brushing your dog at any age keeps their fur and skin healthy. It’s especially important for long-haired breeds who are prone to matting. Bristly brushes can be harsh on a senior dog’s coat and skin as their skin gets thinner over time. Using a rubber brush is softer on the skin and helps to diffuse natural oils.
Daily brushing is also an opportunity for you to do body checks. Rubbing your hand over your dog’s coat can help you feel for growths, hot spots, or ticks. Plus, keeping clean fur can help eliminate doggie odors that are typical of old age.
Fitdog offers a full-service grooming for dogs of all ages. Our experienced groomer can consult with you about your best options and which services they recommend to keep your senior dog at their healthiest.
Keeping a regular grooming regimen is a necessary promotion of your dog’s longevity and happiness. We hope this guide will help pet owners transition their dog into their golden years with ease. Happy grooming!