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5 Tips for Caring for a Senior Dog

As your dog ages, their joints may start to feel stiffer and creakier than they used to.
The good news is that Whistle is here to help.

CATEGORY: Health & Nutrition
October 01, 2021

Your senior dog knows basic commands, has mastered the art of napping, is a champion snuggle bug and has grey hairs in their muzzle that makes them look extra wise. One new thing you might not expect is a little extra stiffness in their gait.

As your dog ages, their joints may start to feel stiffer and creakier than they used to. The good news is that Whistle is here to help.

Whistle is helping senior dogs live their best lives.

Did you know: 54% of dogs in America are seniors. Small dogs hit their golden years around age 11-12, medium dogs around age 10, and large dogs as early as 8 years old. Of those senior dogs, 1 in 5 suffer from arthritis.

That’s just one of the reasons it’s important to pay extra attention to your senior dog’s health. Whistle devices allow you to be proactive about managing your senior dog’s health to ensure they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

How Whistle is helping Cinnamon live her healthiest life


After 15-year-old Cinnamon was diagnosed with arthritis, her mom, Leona, turned to Whistle to better understand her senior pup’s health. Leona uses the Whistle Health device to track how long Cinnamon, sleeps, walks and runs and to monitor changes in behavior like scratching—it even helped Leona find a tick on Cinnamon!

Whistle tips when caring for senior dogs

Whether your puppy is now a senior dog or you just adopted an older companion, these five tips are important when caring for senior dogs.

Schedule regular checkups: Routine vet care is essential for senior dogs. It can help you identify age-related changes like heart or kidney disease and ensures you’re providing the necessary treatments for your old dog to live the long and healthy life they deserve.

The Ask a Vet feature available through every Whistle subscription plan offers free chat, video and email appointments so you know how to take care of an old dog.

Provide proper nutrition: It’s common for older dogs to experience changes to their appetites. If your Whistle device alerts you that your dog is eating less as they age, consider offering wet food, which is more aromatic and could entice older dogs to eat. You can also warm food in the microwave to boost the scent.

Changes in appetite could also be a sign of underlying health issues like a hormonal imbalance, diabetes or cancer. An alert from your Whistle device could be the signal that it’s time to make an appointment with the vet.

Maintain an exercise routine: Your senior dog may not be able to walk as far as fast but exercise is essential for overall health and declines in activity levels could be a sign that your dog has arthritis or another health issue.

Want to know how to make an old dog happy? Talk to your vet about establishing an exercise routine and use Whistle Health, Health & GPS or Health & GPS+ to set age-appropriate exercise goals. Your old dog will still love learning some new tricks.

Prioritize mental stimulation: Senior dogs often experience changes to their mental health and include anxiety, pacing, staring at walls, changes in sleep patterns and unprovoked whining, howling and barking.

In addition to using Whistle Health, Health & GPS or Health & GPS+ to monitor for changes in behavior that could be a sign of canine cognitive disorder, offer your older dog puzzle feeders and toys or teach them new tricks to provide the mental stimulation that helps keep your dog’s mind sharp as they age.

Focus on comfort: Not sure what to expect with an aging dog? Remember this: Old age often comes with a few more aches and pains but it is possible to help your senior dog feel more comfortable.

Orthopedic beds provide cushioning for aging joints and ramps can make it easier to navigate stairs or get in and out of the car. Offering your senior dog food and water in elevated dishes ease the pressure on the necks and backs of senior dogs with arthritis.

Our friends at The Wildest have gathered top products for senior dogs. From doggy diapers to toe grips, this gear will help your pet thrive through their golden years.

Whistle celebrates Saving Senior Dog Week

This Saving Senior Dogs Week, Whistle is doing our part to support pups as they transition into their golden year by donate $10 from every Whistle smart device sold to Muttville, a nonprofit organization changing the way the world treats older dogs.

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