Everyone loves puppies, but the truth is that you need to know about caring for senior Pugs. Your dog will spend the majority of their life as a senior, that’s why I wanted to share tips and my personal experience of caring for an older Pug.
We all love puppies because they are so adorable. Unfortunately, your pup is only considered a puppy for the first year in their life. Every pet parent needs to understand that caring for an older dog is different than a young dog.
Mindy As A Puppy
I got Mindy when she was about 6 weeks old, which was extremely early according to the vet. Here’s a picture of her when we brought her home.
One thing that I noticed from being a pet owner is that they’re NOT a puppy forever. So, you need to make the most of it while they are a puppy and learn how to deal with the issues that come from owning an older loveable dog.
What Age Is A Pug A Senior?
A Pug is considered to be a senior when they are six years old. In this post, I created a Pug dog age chart to help you get an understanding of the growth stages. A Pug can live for 12-15 years, Mindy lived for 16 and this means that your dog will spend a large majority of their life as a senior.
You’ll have to start concerning yourself with orthopedic dog beds, diapers for Pugs, joint remedies and other products that can help your best friend feel better.
Older Pugs Require More Care
As a responsible Pug parent, you need to know what to expect as Fido enters their golden years. When your “baby” gets older, he/she will slowly show signs of aging. Most often these signs can be painfully excruciating and debilitating.
You’ll start to notice little things like they won’t greet you at the door any more like they used to. Your once constant ball of fire is just lying around sleeping. They’ll even start to have trouble getting out of their bed because their joints become stiff and painful.
It’s NOT easy to watch your furbaby become older. However, it’s the cycle of life and as a pet parent, you need to know what to expect so you can care for them properly.
Health Issues of Senior Pugs
The best thing you can do is get a good geriatric screening that will help you prevent issues before they become a full-blown problem. In fact, many experts believe that your Pug dog should receive their first geriatric screening when they reach 7 years old.
It’s important to continue their geriatric screenings on a regular basis to help check for good organ function, stiffness causes, anemia, heart murmurs and other issues related to old age. A routine geriatric screening includes a thorough physical exam, which includes complete blood count, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile.
This can help prevent diseases and sicknesses that may be lurking. Unfortunately, these routine checkups cannot detect issues from the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, prostate, heart, musculoskeletal and neurological systems, because they do not produce enzymes because they are not measured in blood.
Having a proactive approach with these regular screenings will provide you with early detection of abnormalities that can help enhance the quality and prolong the life of your furbaby.
Common Senior Health Problems are:
- cognitive dysfunction syndrome (pug senility)
- periodontal disease (can make it difficult to eat and chew)
- cataracts and glaucoma (Mindy had this and couldn’t see)
- hearing problems (Mindy lost her hearing)
- cardiovascular diseases
- kidney problems
- arthritis (degenerative joint disease)
- hypothyroidism (the process of turning food into fuel)
- cancers and other diseases
Unfortunately, your dog is prone to any of these issues as they become older. As a pug owner, it can be challenging to know what Fido is experiencing. The best thing you can do is pay attention to signs such as loss of appetite, chronic diarrhea or constipation, mobility issues, loss of hearing or vision and etc.
We had no clue that Mindy was losing her hearing. It wasn’t until we noticed that she no longer could hear us when we were calling her name.
She used to come to us without any problems whenever we called her. As her hearing got worse, we had to make sure that we didn’t lose sight of her when she was outside taking care of her business.
Should You Get Pet Insurance?
Everyone’s response will be different, but I can tell you this. We didn’t have pet insurance for Mindy because we didn’t think we could afford it.
It was an expensive mistake because we didn’t take Mindy to the vet as often as we should. Yes, we made sure that we were feeding her the best food for older dogs.
But whenever Mindy wasn’t feeling well or started having joint issues, we started looking online for natural remedies.
If your dog is struggling with joint problems, I recommend Osteo-Pet Glucosamine, we bought that for Mindy and gave her a small amount with her food. She loved it and it helped bring back some of her mobility.
Of course, if you can afford it, I suggest that you invest in pet insurance for your Pug, so you don’t have to worry about neglecting them due to lack of money.
Caring For Your Older Pug
Your older dog requires special attention and care. If you have younger dogs, you’ll want to make sure that your old Pug has a place to call their own.
As Mindy got older, she had a hard time going down steps. So we would carry her down the steps, so she wouldn’t fall on her face. (which happened a few times) You also may want to consider getting a seat belt for your Pug.
She was an independent and proud dog and she hated us carrying her back up the steps. I remember one day, I left her standing on the front porch because it was locked. I quickly ran around to the back unlocked door to let her in only to find that she had fallen off the side of the porch.
Luckily, it wasn’t that far of a fall, but after that, I made sure that I didn’t leave her unattended on the steps anymore.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re paying a lot more attention to them. If you feel they can get hurt, don’t leave them alone.
Essential Products for Older Pugs
As your dog gets older, they will require different needs than a puppy. Here’s a list of some of the things you need to consider getting for your older Pug.
Orthopedic Dog Bed: Every pet needs a comfortable bed, but as your dog becomes older, it’s important to invest in an orthopedic bed that will help them sleep better. Mindy loved hers and it we found that she had fewer aches and pains once we invested in a good orthopedic bed.
Joint Medication: Eventually, your canine friend will deal with aches and pains from moving around. We found that the Glucosamine, it helped her move around a lot better.
Diapers or Pee Pads: We tried using diapers on Mindy and she hated them. We eventually started using pee pads and would put her in the bathroom or kitchen when we left the house.
As your dog gets older, they’ll have a hard time holding their bladder. Accidents will happen and you can’t scold them for it, because it happens as they get older.
Dog Food: You’ll want to make sure that you’re feeding them the right food that will help them maintain their weight and prevent obesity.
Your once active dog will no longer feel like doing a lot. They’ll be spending a lot of time sleeping, but their appetite will not decrease.
Mindy’s didn’t, she still got excited to eat every day. So we had to make sure that we were feeding her the right food that kept excess weight off of her.
Cooling Mat: Pugs can suffer from breathing problems when exposed to heat for long periods of time. We noticed that as Mindy became older, her tolerance towards heat became worse.
We finally got a cooling mat that would help her cool down quickly when she was outside for long periods of time.
Dog Stairs: If your dog is used to sitting on the couch with you, then you may want to consider investing in some dog stairs they can use to get on the furniture easier. Here are some pet stairs that work great for Pugs.
The last thing you want is for them to break a limb trying to climb up or get off the furniture. If you let them sleep on the bed with you, then you may want to make it easier for them to get up there.
The Hardest Decision You’ll Ever Have to Make
Eventually, the day will come when you have to make the hardest decision of your life. You’re going to have to decide when it’s time to put your pup down.
It sucks and we hated every minute of it. But we decided to take Mindy to the vet when we realized that her health was deteriorating rapidly, we decided to put her welfare ahead of ours.
No one wants to make this decision, but you never want your furbaby to suffer. At least that’s how we felt and what led us to the decision to take her to the vet that morning.
Unfortunately, no one can tell you when it’s time to make that dreaded decision. Just make sure that you’re making the right decision based on their health, and that you’re not trying to hold on to them for too long because you’re being selfish.
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