8 Signs Your Dog is Aging

8 Signs Your Dog Is AgingWe all know how age can creep up on us, and that is certainly true for our dogs. The old adage “one human year equals seven dog years” is a good starting point, but in fact, small to medium breeds are considered a senior at 9 to 11 years, large dogs at 8 to 10 years, and giant breed dogs at 6 to 8 years.

Each dog, like each human, is different. Some signs of aging are obvious – others, not so much. However, being aware of the changes in your dog could help you catch health issues early. With diet, supplements, and extra care, many of these conditions can be prevented, delayed or managed, to give your dog the best possible quality of life. Here are some general things to watch for:

  1. Slowing Down

    What is usually considered “slowing down” or “a little stiff” may be a sign of arthritis. Extra weight makes arthritis even worse, so consider a high protein diet to help protect lean muscle mass while shedding fat. Proper weight and moderate exercise are the keys to comfort. Also consider joint support supplements and antioxidants for dogs, which offer good anti-inflammatory action and pain relief. And don’t forget a new dog bed for more comfortable sleep.

  2. Gaining Weight

    Older dogs can put on weight due to less activity, slowing metabolism, thyroid issues, etc. And we know that overweight and obese dogs have a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Your senior dog needs more and higher quality protein and reduced calories and an age-appropriate exercise routine.

  3. Not Responding To You

    Has your dog stopped coming when you call? Is he hard to wake up after sleeping? Or does she get startled easily if you approach from behind? Hearing loss or deafness may be a reason for this. Take care to protect him from hazards such as cars and consider teaching hand signals for basic commands. Both dogs and cats can develop cognitive (learning and memory) problems as they get older, which are increasingly recognized as a form of dementia. Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids for dogs (krill & cod liver oil is best for this condition) are valuable in keeping your pet’s brain functioning at its best.

  4. Cloudy Eyes

    As they age, dog’s eyes often show a bluish transparent “haze” in the pupil area. This is a normal effect of aging and the medical term for this is nuclear sclerosis or lenticular sclerosis. A white opaque cloudiness in the eye can also be a sign of cataracts, which will need treatment. Check with your vet if you notice any cloudiness or have questions about eye care.

  5. More Bathroom Breaks & Accidents

    As your dog ages, he will need to go to the bathroom more often. In older dogs, lower levels of hormones and slower nerve responses contribute to incontinence. If he starts having accidents in the house, increase your number of potty breaks throughout the day. Also consider a bladder control supplement to support your dog’s bladder muscle function and maintain bladder health in senior dogs.

  6. Lumps

    Your worst fear – finding a lump. Dogs often develop spongy lumps, called lipomas, as they age. These lumps are usually fatty tumors and no reason to worry. However, you should have your vet check out all lumps you discover. You should be checking for lumps frequently. On short-haired dogs they will eventually be noticeable by sight, but it’s better if you detect them early. On long-haired dogs, regular checks are vital, since they may not be visible even when they get larger.

  7. Bad Breath

    This sign of aging will probably be the first you encounter. Most dogs don’t have minty-fresh breath, but if it starts to smell funkier than usual, don’t ignore it. Dogs as young as three develop this and it’s usually a sign of dental disease. The longer the teeth are allowed to decay, the worse it will be for your dog and your pocketbook. The good news is that you can help prevent your pet from suffering through a good oral care regimen. Brush her teeth regularly, and in between brushes, natural dental chews will help keep them clean.

  8. Deteriorating Coat Condition

    Your dog may encounter skin and coat issues at any age, but he is more susceptible to them as he gets older. Look for dry coat, itching, flakiness, rashes or hair loss. Quality skin and coat care products can alleviate some of these issues, but talk to your vet to determine if there is a medical cause of the issue.

Enjoy your pets in their senior years. For more information on supporting your aging pet, please see our articles on aging pets in our Holistic Healthcare Library, and in particular the article, “Supporting Your Aging Companion” and video Celebrating Your Pet’s Golden Years.

Boarding or Pet Sitting? Which is Better for Your Pet?

Boarding or Sitting

Boarding or Pet Sitting: Pros and Cons of Both

The holidays, ski season, and warm-weather vacations are fast approaching and for many pet parents, that means having to make a decision about your pet’s care. Of course, we always want our fur babies with us, but if that’s not an option this year, you need a plan for your pet while you’re away.

If you’re a first-timer, your top two options are to hire a professional pet sitter or board them at a doggy daycare or kennel. In making your choice, you’ll want to consider your pet’s age, health and temperament, and of course, your budget.

Whether it’s a kennel or a pet sitter, your dog or cat will likely benefit from some calming remedies such as stress and anxiety remedies for dogs and cats. If you are preparing to board your companions, immune strengtheners are a great idea. Best to get started on those several weeks in advance.

Here are the pros and cons to consider:

Pet Boarding


  • Usually more cost effective than pet sitters, since pet sitters charge per visit and kennels charge per day.
  • Great option for social dogs who need a lot of exercise and activity.


  • Contagious diseases, like kennel cough, distemper, giardiasis and coccidiosis are found in kennels. This is a no-no for puppies and kittens as their immune systems are susceptible to picking up these illnesses.
  • Staff can’t always give each pet special attention (sometimes you have to pay extra for this).
  • The kennel will perform feedings, bathroom breaks and walks according to their schedule, not yours, which is not ideal for puppies.

Pet Sitter


  • Your pet can keep his or her routine, which is essential for puppies or kittens.
  • No exposure to contagious illnesses.
  • If you have a pet with special dietary or medical needs, the pet sitter can administer medications.
  • Pets are given special attention and playtime with pet sitters.
  • Pet sitters can also bring in mail, water plants, and turn lights on/off while you’re away.


  • Since pet sitters typically charge anywhere from $10 upwards per house visit, and that can add up fast.
  • If you hire a neighborhood teen (vs a professional service), service and quality can be unreliable.
  • If your dog or cat doesn’t react well to strangers, he or she may not be too fond of a pet sitter.
  • Between visits, your pet will have long hours of little to no stimulation or activity.

You know your pet best, so make the right call that meets their needs. Have a healthy and happy winter season from everyone at Only Natural Pet!

Employee Pet Profile-Meet Adam’s Golden Retriever, Savanah

This month our employee pet profile will look at the energetic Golden Retriever that comes to work in the Customer Care Department with Adam!

Employee First Name : Adam
Pet’s Name(s) : Savanah
Breed : Golden Retriever











Favorite Food: Natures Variety Instinct Raw Only Natural Pet Easy Raw

Favorite Treats: Nartures Variety Raw Bones Only Natural Pet Free Range Bully Stick

Favorite Toy: Tennis Ball Doggles Pentapulls

Favorite Story: Savanah was adopted by Adam and she had numerous issues such as itchy skin, constantly biting her paws, oily coat, mucous discharge from her eyes, poor oral care, and barely had enough energy to walk around the block. Adam did some research, asked a lot of questions, and eventually changed her diet to one consisting of raw, dehydrated and freeze-dried real foods. Within 1-2 weeks, every issue cleared up. She’s like a completely different dog. Her hair cleaned up, the itching stopped (aside from the normal scratch here and there), her teeth went from a brownish yellow to bright white, no more discharge from her eyes…the list goes on and on. The most noticable change was her energy level. She is able to go strong for multiple days in the Colorado backcountry every weekend with her dad. She puts in a ton of miles over the course of the summer. Based on the improvements seen, Adam and Savanah are firm believers in feeding a raw diet and will never go back to the poor commercial food of her past. When she’s not in the office mixing it up with her friends, you can find her staying in shape on the trail with her mom and dad throughout the Rocky Mountains.