Looking after an elderly Border Terrier

Do you have a Border Terrier that’s in his elderly years? You may have noticed your little dog slowing down recently or sprouting a few grey hairs. If this is the case, you need to be ready to make life more comfortable for your dog. Here are some useful tips for looking after a senior Terrier.

Knowing the signs of old age

Border Terriers have a lifespan of about 12-15 years, which is quite a long time. Since most dogs reach their senior years at about 75% of their lifespans, the Border Terrier is considered to be elderly from about 8-9 years old. It might be sooner than this or earlier, but you will notice some subtle changes in your dog’s behaviour when old age begins. For one thing, you’ll notice a scattering of grey hairs appearing on your dog’s muzzle and face. He will become less active, and will probably have a lot more nap times than he usually would. He may either lose or gain weight in response to this change in lifestyle. Deteriorating eyesight or hearing is also common, as well as a lack of bladder control. At this stage, the teeth and gums might also deteriorate. The Border Terrier’s usually dense coat will begin to thin out as he experiences some hair loss.

Keep your Border Terrier warm

Older dogs, especially small breeds like the Border Terrier, need to be kept warm when they get older. You might want to consider a doggy jacket for walks in winter time. If your dog shows signs of being too cold, for example if he starts to shiver, then it’s time to take him back inside. The cold is not good for an elderly dog’s bones or their immune systems.

Move the dog bed somewhere cosy

Now that your Border Terrier is in his golden years, it might be time to reconsider where he sleeps each night. Move his bed somewhere very warm, perhaps beside a radiator. Make sure there are no draughts in the sleeping area.

Take your Border Terrier for regular health check-ups

It can be very easy for misguided owners to dismiss the signs of illness and pass them off as the symptoms of old age. To be on the safe side, you should always bring your dog to the vet if there has been any major change in behaviour, appetite or toilet habits. Your dog could be in real discomfort without you knowing it and, in a lot of cases, your vet will be able to ease the symptoms with the right treatment.

Make your home safe

With an elderly dog, mobility problems and poor eyesight are common. So, you will need to cast a critical eye over your home and be sure that your Border terrier will be able to get around easily. For example, does he have to cross a large distance, climb steps or walk over a slippery floor to get between his bed and his food bowls? Eliminate all the obstacles you can think of and you will limit the chances of your dog having an accident. You might want to block off the stairs in your home completely, or even install a ramp if there is a single step elsewhere in your home, and put down a rubber-backed mat to avoid slippery floors

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