How to Take Care of A Senior Goldendoodle

How to Take Care of a Senior Goldendoodle

As your Goldendoodle ages, there are certain conditions that you need to look for.  These can cause your Goldendoodle some health problems that would need to be checked by your vet. 

How to Take Care of a Senior Goldendoodle

These are common things that you need to do as your dog ages.

  • Switch to a Senior Dog food
  • Yearly Checkup with bloodwork
  • Monitor for Signs of Illness
  • Keep your Goldendoodle Active

While these are common things that you can do, there are many other steps that you can take to make sure that your Goldendoodle stays healthy for as long as possible.

When Is a Goldendoodle Considered a Senior Dog?

The lifespan of a Goldendoodle can greatly vary.  Most Goldendoodles live between 10 to 15 years. 

This means that there is a very large gap for when a Golden doodle would be considered a senior dog. Some Goldendoodles will start to slow and show signs of aging at around seven, while some are closer to eleven.

Pay close attention to your Goldendoodle so you will be able to notice when the aging process starts to wear on them.

Switch to a Senior Dog Food

As your dog gets older, you should switch them to a senior diet.  This is usually recommended once your dog is 7 years old.  Senior dog food will be higher in fiber and lower in fat.  This helps keep your dog healthy as they start to slow down some. 

When switching dog foods, make sure to do so gradually not to cause any GI upset in your Goldendoodle. It is best to follow this method when switching dog foods:

  • 1/4th new food and 3/4th old food for 3 to 5 days
  • ½ new food and ½ old food for 3 to 5 days
  • 3/4th new food and 1/4th old food for 3 to 5 days
  • 100% of new food

If these changes are not slow enough for your dog, add a few extra days to each step.

Yearly Checkups for Bloodwork

Older Goldendoodles will need to be examined by your veterinarian every year to every 6 months.  Not only will they get the vaccines that they need but also will be checked over for any other health problems. 

At these visit’s you veterinarian may want to run bloodwork to check for any underlying conditions that are commonly seen in Goldendoodles. 

By checking bloodwork on your Goldendoodle every 6 to 12 months, there is a much great chance that you will detect a problem before it becomes serious.  Many medical problems can be prevented, or the severity decrease just because of early detection.

Monitor for Signs of Illness

Always look for any signs of illness in your Goldendoodle. Common signs that would indicate that your Goldendoodle would need to see a vet as soon as possible is:

  • Not eating
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea that lasts for more than one day
  • Coughing
  • Limping or trouble moving around
  • Drooling
  • Blood coming from anywhere
  • Just not acting normal

As soon as you notice these signs, take your Goldendoodle to the vet as they can figure out what is causing these problems in your and start treatment before they get too sick.

Common Problems Seen in Older Goldendoodles

As your Goldendoodle ages, there are some health problems that they may encounter.  Some old age conditions that are seen in both poodles and Golden Retrievers are:

  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)
  • Allergies
  • Cataracts
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Dental Disease
  • Heart Disease

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus is the medical term for bloat.  This pretty much means that your dog’s stomach has become enlarged, flipped over, and twisted on itself. 

This can cause an obstruction of the outflow of the stomach.  Once your dog’s stomach has twisted, your Goldendoodle’s stomach will quickly become distended.

Common signs of Bloat in a Goldendoodle are:

  • Hard, distended or bloated abdomen
  • Retching
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Increased Heart Rate or Pulse
  • Collapse

If your dog is bloated, they need to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.  This is usually a life-threatening emergency that will usually need surgery.  Bloating causes a blockage in your dog’s GI tract, which can be very painful.  You cannot treat bloat at home. 

Your vet will take x-rays to see if the stomach is twisted over.  If it is twisted, they will need to perform emergency surgery and twist the stomach back over.  Once they twist it back over, your vet will tack the stomach in place to prevent it from twisting over again.

There are many precautions that you can take to prevent your dog from bloating, but some dogs will bloat despite all the preventative measures that you take. 

Feed your Goldendoodle small frequent meals a few times a day.  This will help decrease the chance of them bloating.  After your dog eats, force them to rest for about 1 hour to make sure that their food is fully digested.

Bloat can be a scary and life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care.  With proper care and prevention, many Goldendoodles who are prone to bloating can have lifestyle modifications to help decrease their chance of bloating.

Allergies

Goldendoodles are known to have allergies.  These allergies can be due to food, environmental, or parasites such as fleas and ticks.  Most allergies are a life-long battle, but some can start once your dog gets to their senior years. 

If you notice your dog itching more or having hair loss, your veterinarian can prescribe medicated shampoo and other medications to treat your dog’s skin problems.

Cataracts

Cataracts are commonly seen in Goldendoodles as they age.  Cataracts are changes to the lense of the eyes.  The lenses will become a milky white to blue-white color in the eye. 

Cataracts can develop at any age but are more commonly seen in older dogs.  Most cataracts will develop slowly over time but can develop very quickly with certain diseases such as diabetes. 

The only way to cure your dog of cataract is to have cataract surgery just like it is done in people. While surgery can be very expensive and not all dogs are a candidate for having surgery there are things that you can do to prevent your dog from

Arthritis

If your Goldendoodle has hip or elbow dysplasia, as they get older, they can develop arthritis.  Even if they do not have these diseases, they can develop arthritis as they age.  Dogs with arthritis will commonly have problems with mobility. 

They may have problems getting up, limping, or not using one leg. Arthritis is also commonly seen in dogs that are overweight.  Keeping your dog at lean body weight can help reduce the amount of pain your Goldendoodle has from arthritis.

If your pet is limping around for more than a day, make an appointment with your vet to help figure out the cause of your dog’s signs.

Common signs associated with arthritis and joint pain in dogs are:

  • Limping
  • Difficulty walking
  • Problems standing, especially after laying down for a long time

Your vet can prescribe your Goldendoodle a few different medications and supplements to decrease their pain and inflammation in their joints. Depending on what is causing their problems, there may be surgical procedures to permanently fix the problem. 

Schedule an appointment with your vet, and they can help figure out the cause of your Goldendoodle’s problem and prescribe them medication to help with their arthritis.

Obesity

Obesity is commonly seen in older Goldendoodles.  As your dog gets older, their metabolism slows down. 

When your Goldendoodle’s metabolism slows down, you should decrease the amount of food you are feeding them so that they do not become overweight.  Most people do not do this, therefore, causing their dog to become obese. 

Most dogs do not have the sense to stop eating when they are full.  This will cause them to putt on a few extra pounds and cause many other health problems such as: 

  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Heart problems
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Problems breathing

There are many things that you can do to help your Goldendoodle lose weight, such as increasing the amount of time you take them outside to exercise.

You can throw a ball for them to chase or even take them on a walk every day.  Also, by decreasing their food by about 1/4th, you will help them shed a few pounds.

Cancer

As your Goldendoodle gets older, you may find a few lumps and bumps on their body. These lumps may just be fatty masses, but they can be cancerous. 

Your vet can take a small sample of the mass, and look at the cells under the microscope, determine if this mass is cancerous or not. 

There are signs that would cause you to think that your Goldendoodle may have cancer, such as:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Losing Weight
  • Seeing a growth on your dog

If you see any of these signs, your vet can examine your Goldendoodle to see if they have cancer. They can also help you decide on the best possible treatment for your dog.

Dental disease

Unless you brush your Goldendoodles teeth twice a day, they will eventually get a dental disease.  This is seen when tartar builds up on your dog’s teeth.  This tartar causes their bad breath. 

Small dogs, especially poodles, very commonly get a dental disease and will need routine dental cleanings.  Common signs that your Goldendoodle has dental disease or other dental problems are:

  • Bad smelling breath
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating
  • Swelling right under the eyes

Another way that you can see if your dog has dental disease by looking at your Goldendoodle’s teeth.  You will easily be able to see the tartar build-up on their teeth. 

The tartar is the brownish tan stuff that is near the gum line.  If your Goldendoodle does have tartar build-up on their teeth, you will have to have your veterinarian clean their teeth.  This cleaning is very similar to the type of cleaning done at a human dental office.

Preventing dental disease in Goldendoodle’s

Once your veterinarian has cleaned your dog’s teeth, there are things that you can do to help decrease the amount of dental tartar that they have in the future.  These are:

  • Giving them dental chews
  • Putting additives in their water
  • brush their teeth daily or at least a few times a week

Heart Disease

Older Goldendoodles can suffer from heart disease.  As they get older, their heart no longer functions how it should.  Common signs associated with heart problems are:

  • Coughing especially after exercise
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapsing after bouts of energy

Your vet can listen to your dog’s heart to see if they have a heart murmur.  They will also listen to their lungs, as some heart diseases also cause lung problems. A heart murmur would suggest that there was something wrong with your dog’s heart.

If your dog does have signs of heart diseases, your vet may want to run tests.  The most common test that your vet may want to run is chest x rays, Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), and an EKG. 

The results of these tests will help your vet figure out how progressed their heart disease is. 

Once they figure out exactly what is wrong with your dog’s heart, there are medications that your dog can be started on.  These medications will help your Goldendoodle’s heartbeat more effectively and decrease any fluid in the chest and abdomen.

How to Take Care of a Senior Goldendoodle

Keep your Goldendoodle Active

A healthy dog is an active dog.  Keeping your dog active by taking them on a walk or outside to play for at least 30 minutes each day will keep their minds and body healthy. 

Most Goldendoodles have very high energy levels and will some mental and physical stimulation to keep from becoming destructive. 

Even though your Goldendoodle is older, they still need the same amount of activity as they did during their adult years.  You may have to take your walks a little slower, but they will need daily exercise.

Taking your dog to a dog park or having a fenced in the back yard will help extend your Goldendoodle’s activity time. As your dog ages, you may have to take multiple shorter walks for them to get all their exercise that is needed. 

Also, things such as an orthopedic dog bed will be very useful as helping with senior dog’s joints. Also, consider getting your Goldendoodle puzzles that they can play with at home to help keep them mentally stimulated. 

Keeping your Goldendoodle Clean As they Age

Hygiene is another important area to help your Goldendoodle stay healthy. Their hair coat can be very different than some dogs and will require brushing several times a week, and professional grooming services every 2 to 3 months.

Giving your Goldendoodle dental treats, toys, or brushing should be included in this routine as well. Keeping your Goldendoodle’s coat and teeth clean can prevent major health issues later in life, such as matting, infections, or heart disease.

Goldendoodles are prone to getting ear infections.  Always clean your dog’s ears every time they take a bath or go for a swim.  You can easily clean your Goldendoodle’s ears at home.  Many pet stores sell over the counter ear cleaners that you can use to clean your dog’s ears.

Taking Care of a Senior Goldendoodle

While there are many things that you need to do to take care of your senior Goldendoodle, you will eventually have to take them to the vet.  Make sure to establish a good relationship with your local vet office. 

Make sure to always take your dog in for their appointment, as these are crucial times that you and your vet can discuss any and all concerns that you may have for your pets.

Over time, these appointments will be very beneficial to preventing any big health problems that your pet may have or stop and suffering that your pet is experiencing.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are many different things that you can do to care for your Goldendoodle as they age.  Most of these are very easy and do not cost any more money. 

Watching for any problems or changes in your Goldendoodle is key.  If you notice a problem, quick action will result in the best outcome.  The sooner you catch a problem, and the quicker they can get treatment or prevention, the healthier your Goldendoodle will be. 

Work with your vet on developing a health maintenance plane so you can catch a disease before it is too late.

All dogs will need extra love and more attention as they age, and a Goldendoodle is no exception to this. Your Goldendoodle may just need more attention, or they may need more bathroom trips outside as they age.

Some older Goldendoodles are faced with more serious health problems and have greater age-related changes.

No matter what is going on, keep in mind that your role as a pet parent is to keep your Goldendoodle comfortable and happy throughout the aging process.

There is a reward for both the Goldendoodles and the owners who embrace the challenge of growing old with their Goldendoodle .

How to Take Care of a Senior Goldendoodle

Dr. Sara Ochoa

I am a graduate of St. George's University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. I have been practicing Veterinary Medicine for the past 5 years treating small animal and exotic animals. I own a dog, cat, rabbit, and tortoise. I have extensive knowledge treating all species of animals with a passion for surgery.

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