Photo Credit: Peter Tyrer
If your Yorkie is starting to show signs of aging, you’ll need to adjust how you care for him or her. Even as it winds down in its latter years, a dog’s life may be rich and rewarding. Your dog will not get “aged” on any certain day. In the same way that people develop with time, so does this. After accepting that your Yorkshire terrier is getting older, you’ll be better equipped to ensure continued good health and happiness.
At What Age Is a Yorkshire Terrier Considered an Older Dog?
To be honest, there is some ambiguity here. The canine’s size is the primary factor here. Ages 8 to 12 are considered senior for small breeds since they live longer than big types. A veterinarian will determine whether or not a Yorkshire Terrier is a senior based on the dog’s age, health, level of activity, and other behavioral changes associated with advancing age.
Age 8 marks the transition into adulthood, and a Yorkie that has reached the age of 10 is officially considered a senior citizen. Whether or not the vet has issued a formal declaration, this will remain true.
How to Take Care of an Aged Yorkshire Terrier
Even while it won’t happen quickly, a few things should be changed to accommodate an older dog.
1. Veterinary visits
One of the most crucial parts of taking care of a senior Yorkie will be taking him or her in for regular checkups to test for age-related health problems. These are referred to as geriatric examinations. Every senior will get two annual checkups instead of one. Since medical issues may arise swiftly in children and adolescents aged eight and higher, regular checkups are essential.
In addition to the regular weigh-in and health check, the following diagnostic procedures will be carried out: Full blood count, Urine Chemistry Analyzer, ECG, stool analysis, and x-rays may be performed.
To ensure that your Yorkshire Terrier remains flexible for as long as possible, you must make certain adjustments to his or her exercise routine. The ancient saying “use it or lose it” is just as applicable to dogs as it is to people. Ideally, you’ve been giving your adult Yorkie regular walks since he or she was a puppy. The aging dog will benefit much from this. Senior Yorkshire Terriers need nearly as long walks as they did when they were younger. The trick is to do these actions in smaller bursts.
Even though your dog is accustomed to walking for 30 minutes twice a day, he or she may benefit from shorter outings in the morning and late afternoon, and a longer stroll in the evening. By dividing the activity in this way, you may give a senior dog the health advantages of exercise without putting undue strain on his body.
Remember that elderly Yorkies may still like being active, but they have different activity needs, including requiring more frequent water breaks and being more sheltered from temperature extremes. Never leave home without a refillable water bottle, no matter how short your trip to the park or around the block. Take a five-minute water break when you reach the halfway mark.
Take precautions during the warmest periods of the day and on hot, humid summer days by limiting your time spent outside. When the humidity is high, the elderly might quickly feel overheated and distressed. An elderly Yorkshire Terrier may benefit from wearing a sweater or vest on cool to chilly days to remain warm and enjoy the outdoors.
3. Food and Appetite Changes in Senior Yorkies
Switching a Yorkie over to senior food is unnecessary unless you feel like it. To begin, no authoritative sources define “senior food” in any way, shape, or form. There is no evidence of this at all, according to the AAFCO and the NRC.
Hence, it is up to individual commercial dog food manufacturers to make adjustments to their senior recipes. Some will maintain their current protein intake, while others may decrease it. Some people may choose to take various supplements.
The calorie content is also a critical distinction between adult and senior variants. Because of their propensity to gain weight with age, several dog breeds fall into this category. The Yorkshire Terrier has a long and illustrious history of being an active dog, thus, despite its tiny stature, it seldom gets overweight, even in old age.
It’s not a huge problem to transition to the senior designation as long as the food you’re currently feeding your Yorkie is high quality. Still, it’s not something you need to do right away unless you’re running out of the junior label. If you have any questions or concerns, you should discuss them with your veterinarian.
As they age, many Yorkies experience a little loss of appetite due to their metabolism slowing down. This factor alone often compensates for the reduced calorie requirements and aids in weight maintenance for the elderly.
Yorkshire Terriers often have a small but visible decline in appetite as they mature. Several health conditions, like as dental and gastrointestinal diseases, may lead a dog to lose interest in eating, so it’s crucial to rule out the possibility that they’re just becoming old and bored with food.
4. Health Supplements
As a Yorkie reaches old age, providing them with many dietary supplements is unnecessary. In contrast, the requirements of each dog should be considered separately before any conclusion is drawn.
Certain geriatric Yorkshire Terriers may have joint problems, such as arthritis, necessitating a high-quality joint supplement designed for senior dogs. A decent Omega 3 and Omega 3,6,9 might be helpful for elderly Yorkies who are prone to dry skin conditions. To learn more about what your dog needs, see your vet.
Although certain meals already have more vitamins than the body needs, taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is still likely helpful. This is because the body will get rid of any nutrients it does not need, and the supplement will make up for any nutrients the body would have been missing otherwise. Just choose a good one and don’t give out more than one a day.5.
A senior’s skin may be more sensitive, and the coat may begin to thin a little, so you’ll want to stay up with good grooming and use extremely high-quality products.
Bald patches are not typical in older Yorkshire Terriers, although it is usual for the coat to lie flatter and the density to decrease.
To maintain a healthy coat, in addition to regular brushing to remove knots and washing with high-quality shampoo and conditioner, you should apply a leave-in spray. This will make the coat more resistant to wind, sun, dry winter air, static, and contact friction. If your Yorkie will be outdoors for more than 15 minutes on a warm, sunny day, use sunscreen in sparse places where skin may be seen.
A senior Yorkie’s increased need for sleep is to be expected. An elderly dog’s routine will likely include more naps, and he may sleep later in the morning than his owners do. Maybe he might sneak off to nap while the rest of the family watches TV.
It’s crucial to provide seniors with a suitable bed for their age. Your dog will benefit from an orthopedic mattress, which provides the proper support for an older body, even if he is highly loyal to his current bed due to these new requirements.
Older canines tend to be rigid in their routines and resistant to new experiences. An adult may be thrilled to have a new puppy join the family, but a senior citizen may quickly tire of the exuberant antics of a young dog. Prioritize your elderly family member’s requirements if you’re considering welcoming a new puppy into the home.
Similarly, elderly Yorkies are notoriously uneasy about moving about the furniture at home. Avoid making modifications that can lead to unnecessary chaos, such as rearranging furniture. Reduced eyesight and hearing are two common symptoms of aging, so it’s best to maintain things the same for senior dogs.
Yorkies, like other senior dogs, may have a lower threshold for noise and activity than younger dogs. If you plan on having guests around, it would be helpful if they could be directed to a quiet location away from your dog’s favorite resting spots.
8. Paying attention to changes
Be vigilant in monitoring your Yorkie for any deviations from the norm. It’s common to let a day go by, and then another, until you realize a week has passed, and you haven’t examined your Yorkie for particular concerns. You should often inspect your Yorkshire Terrier’s ears, eyes, mouth, nasal passages, and paws since health problems may arise rapidly in an older dog.
Do a thorough physical examination of your dog by feeling for any unusual lumps or bumps all over its body.
Although we can’t prevent our dogs from becoming older and they do have far shorter lifespans than humans, we can improve the quality of life for our senior Yorkies and safeguard them with preventive care and early identification of any health problems.
As a lifelong dog lover, I fell in love with Yorkies for their spunky personalities, intelligence, and unwavering loyalty.
As a dedicated Yorkie owner, I have spent years learning about the breed and how to provide the best possible care for them. From finding the proper diet to exercise, and so much more! I take every aspect of my Yorkie’s life seriously.
In addition to being a loving dog parent, I’m an avid blogger, sharing my experiences and insights on all things Yorkie-related. From training tips to grooming advice, Yorkieclothing.com is a go-to resource for other Yorkie owners worldwide.