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Care Considerations for the Aging Bird Dog

Care Considerations for the Aging Bird Dog

As much as we hate it, our faithful companions do get older and eventually cross that rainbow bridge. They bring us so much love and companionship throughout their lives, that we must take extra care of them in their senior years. Now, that’s not to say that I am a big proponent of excessive medical treatments, surgeries, and expensive ground-breaking modalities that will extend their lives. On the contrary, I, like many hunters, believe in keeping our dogs happy and healthy until they are no longer happy and healthy. There are a few steps dog owners can take to help their loyal pups enjoy their later years as much as possible.

Nutrition is key

Aging Bird Dogs - mossbergofficialsiteProviding dog food that is tailored to senior dogs is helpful. Higher fiber, lower caloric density foods help keep your dog's weight in check as well as ensure their gut is working as well as possible. I’m in no position to determine what dog foods are the best, but check with your vet or do a bit of online research to see if you can find a food that provides the best nutritional support for your dog without breaking the bank. Weight Management does go hand in hand with nutrition, but let's face it, dogs can get fat even on the best foods. Keep a close eye on your dog’s weight and adjust portions accordingly. I find this tricky with an aging lab that lives to eat, but it can be done!


Believe it or not, exercise is more important as your dog ages. It is the ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy. Now, you don’t need to push your dog into a strenuous regimen but getting them out daily for a run or walk will help keep the weight off as well as keep muscles and joints active. Shorter outings are helpful. Hunting dogs are active and that activity still keeps them happy and healthy as they age. Pain management may become necessary. Sadly, this is true. Should your dog begin to avoid activity due to pain or you find he/she is in pain after exercise, it is time to consult your veterinarian.

Rimadyl or other anti-inflammatories can be very helpful. Several supplements can be beneficial as well such as glucosamine. I have experimented with a few supplements over the last year and have found a little bit of improvement with the glucosamine and Rimadyl combination.


Keeping your aging dog comfortable is probably one of the most important aspects of keeping your dog healthier longer. Now, I am not implying that you need to build Fido a temperature-controlled condominium but ensuring that they do not experience wide temperature swings is important. Protection from cold and heat is essential. As well, having easy access to food, water, and fresh air makes their limited time a little easier.


Love is really all your dog wants and needs from you. While some dogs are raised and live in kennels for a lot of their younger years is quite common, letting them be close to you as much as possible in their later days is all they want. Their love is unconditional and ours should be as well.

Again, it is incredibly heartbreaking to see your dog decline after spending so much time together adventuring and hunting. The aforementioned simple steps will not stop that process, but they can indeed help keep your trusted companion as comfortable as possible.

About the Author

Kirstie Pike

Kirstie Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women, the leading edge for women’s performance hunting gear for nine years and running.
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