3 Top Challenges of Senior Dogs

If your dog is seven years or older, its time to get your radar up. Possible ailments rob senior pets of their quality of life. In this article we cover three of the main challenges that geriatric dogs face and what you can do to address these health challenges.

Common Ailments of Older Dogs

As our dogs age their bodies begin to break down, or struggle, to keep at the level of health they previously enjoyed. Here are 3 of the major challenges to look for:


Is your dog slowing down, lacking mobility or limping along? These could be the first signs of canine arthritis. In dogs seven years or older, 40% of them can be affected with canine arthritis. This is caused by the deterioration of the joint tissue (basic wear and tear), and then the ensuing pain and inflammation.

What to do: Protect the Joints with natural nutrients Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin sulfate. They feed and cushion the joints against the bone and help rebuild them. Further, omega-3 has pain reducing and anti-inflammatory properties that boost good joint health in dogs. Omega-3 produce hormone-life substances known as eicosonoids that attack and balance inflammatory products. Our natural products RJX for Dogs and Celavin™ are ideal dietary supplements for arthritic dogs.


Second, poor nutrition status in dogs is often displayed by a low energy and poor coat. Common in senior dogs, if your dog is lethargic and shedding profusely, they could malnourished. As animals age, their digestion and metabolism of foods diminishes along with their absorption abilities. This means they need additional support to improve digestion, reinforce the gut, and increase their overall intake of valuable and beneficial nutrients.

What to do: Look to high potency vitamin and mineral formulas. A liquid supplement, like Spectrin for Dogs™ will give them the nutrition they need to have proper metabolic function. Spectrin contains biologically appropriate vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for dogs. The result will be improved nutritional status and more energy. Further, reinforce the gut and improve digestion with probiotics and enzymes The Miracle Pack and MiracleZyme® combo tablets provide this power duo to streamline many of your dog's body systems.


Similar to the above, senior dogs and cats suffer from poor natural enzyme production. The main result of poor enzyme production is malnutrition. This happens even when the dog is eating because he lacks full ability to break down food into available nutrients. Excessive shedding and poor coat could be one of the tell tale signs of malabsorption and digestive stress. Pay attention if you notice vomiting, weight loss, and stool eating, as these are definite signs of digestive stress.

What to do: Providing a high quality, broad-spectrum digestive enzyme like Enzyme Miracle®™ should do the trick. The main purpose of enzymes of relieving digestive burden, but there are also many other benefits of these enzymes especially for older pets.


It's estimated that 50% of dogs in the U.S are obese. The percentage of obese dogs is likely higher in senior dogs. There are a number of causes of dog obesity including poor diet, poor metabolism, and inability to remain active. In part, one can see that this problem is related to the first two problems listed above. Thus, it’s imperative to keep our pet’s weight in control as they age.

What to do: First, don’t overfeed your dog. You should consider a senior diet or a grain-free food, such as Nusentia® Raw & Grain Free dog food. Secondly, give them exercise.

In conclusion, keep in mind that obesity is an inflammatory condition. In the obese state, cell signaling causes the production of inflammatory by-products, which are extremely dangerous to health. If you're applying the suggestions above, but the results aren't showing as you like, seek a protocol for the natural control of inflammation. Again, the number one nutritional remedy for reducing inflammation is omega-3 fish oil. In any situation, fish oil provides a host of benefits to your dogs entire body in addition to the protocols above.


We don't have to feel helpless for our dogs when they grow old. Putting knowledge into action is power, and with these above observations we can put our pets into a healthy aging trajectory. 

Related Articles: 

Calculating Your Dog's Real Age

Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil — Which Is Best for Pets?

Alert: Your Pet is Missing This Essential Nutrient


Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2012 May;34(5):E4. Nutritional management of osteoarthritisPerea S. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Jan 15;77(2):177-84. 

Dietary supplements for osteoarthritisGregory PJ, Sperry M, Wilson AF. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008;16 Suppl 3:S14-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.06.008.

Epub 2008 Jul 29. Anti-inflammatory activity of chondroitin sulfateIovu M, Dumais G, du Souich P. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Feb 15;230(4):514-21. 

Systematic review of clinical trials of treatments for osteoarthritis in dogsAragon CL, Hofmeister EH, Budsberg SC. J Bone Miner Metab. 2013 Jan;31(1):16-25. doi: 10.1007/s00774-012-0378-9.

Epub 2012 Aug 10. Assessment of safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane on bone and knee joints in osteoarthritis animal modelEzaki J, Hashimoto M, Hosokawa Y, Ishimi Y. Vet Ther. 2000 Fall;1(4):264-72. 

Effect of increasing dietary antioxidants on concentrations of vitamin E and total alkenals in serum of dogs and cats. Jewell DE, Toll PW, Wedekind KJ, Zicker SC. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1999 Aug 2;69(2-4):165-83. 

Effect of age, breed and dietary omega-6 (n-6): omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid ratio on immune function, eicosanoid production, and lipid peroxidation in young and aged dogsKearns RJ, Hayek MG, Turek JJ, Meydani M, Burr JR, Greene RJ, Marshall CA, Adams SM, Borgert RC, Reinhart GA. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2005 May;35(3):713-42. 

Nutrition for aging cats and dogs and the importance of body conditionLaflamme DP. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2006 Nov;36(6):1283-95, vii. 

Understanding and managing obesity in dogs and catsLaflamme DP. Vet Res Commun. 2005 Aug;29 Suppl 2:51-5. 

The role of feeding in the maintenance of well-being and health of geriatric dogsBailoni L, Cerchiaro I. Department of Animal Science, University of Padua, Agripolis, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020, Legnaro, Padua, Italy. lucia.bailoni@unipd.it

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