Most of us are aware of the need to regularly groom our dog to help keep it in good health – both physically as well as mentally. However, when it comes to grooming older dogs, many of us may not be aware that we need to take extra care of their grooming needs.
Especially when arthritis and creaky joints start to set in, making it difficult for them to groom themselves in those hard to reach places as their mobility and ability to stretch and bend decreases.
We also need to take extra care of their coat and skin with extra grooming, as well as supplements, to help prevent skin conditions from developing.
Ageing Skin and Coat
Like us humans, as our dog’s age their skin may start to become dry and flaky as they age. You might notice some flaking skin in their hair a bit like dandruff, or it might become more oily, so choosing a natural, correctly PH balanced shampoo for sensitive skin can help and giving them a good weekly brush.
Brushing is important at any age, particularly long or curly haired dogs to help keep them free of matted hair, which can become very painful for a dog if it starts to pull on the skin. Find out more about the importance of brushing your dog regularly here.
There are not a lot of dogs that are happy about having their nails clipped, but when they start to get old and sore (and sometimes crabby…) it can be even tougher. However, it is really important not to stop trimming their nails as they age otherwise they can become thick and brittle. If they are left too long they can grow into the pads and be quite painful, hurting them when they walk. The easiest way to safely trim their nails (for you and them) is to just trim a very small amount of the nail every couple of weeks. If they have clear nails, ensure you trim before you reach the red never ending. Darker nails can be a bit tough but doing a tiny clip regularly can help. Here are some tips on nail clipping to help.
Pressure sores and other lumps
We often see lumps and bumps start on the skin and in the bodies of our older dogs, so it is important to get any ones that seem sensitive or aggravate your dog, start to bleed or continue to grow checked by your vet. A common one in older dogs is a pressure sore that comes from when your dog starts to lose it’s protective muscle as it doesn’t have as much padding between it’s bones and the surfaces it lies on. You might notice these starting to form on your older dog’s elbows, knees and other joints when you are grooming them. These sores are not easy to treat, so it is important to ensure your dog is provided with a soft bed and padded surfaces to lie on to keep them as comfortable as possible.
Sensitive spot trims
It is a good idea when grooming older dogs to also regularly trip the hair around your dog’s rear end and face with some pet clippers or even a pair of scissors will do. Faeces often get caught up in the bottom hair as a dog becomes slower and less mobile and is unable to keep it as clean, causing skin irritations, unpleasant odours and even causing blockages. It is also important to keep their eyes and mouths trimmed to help keep them clear from germs and infection.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.