Columnist Roger Salmon: You can teach an old dog new tricks

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

Now I am getting older my needs change and so does my dog’s so we both need to learn how to adapt.


We do not need as much exercise but we still need enough to stay fit and feel younger. So instead of climbing Scafell Pike I prefer Wansfell Pike.

Teach old dogs new tricks – they have a better attention span than younger dogs. I agree.

Ensure that the dog is dried well after a wet walk and give him a warm bed away from draughts.

Keep the daily routine constant and if needed take him out little and often.

A suitable jacket may be needed as some coats get thinner and more porous with age and less able to withstand rain and cold.


Feed smaller more frequent meals with a suitable senior diet which you can get from your vet. This does not necessarily mean a low protein diet. This is an often quoted misapprehension and is not backed up by research, which actually points to a higher protein intake for older dogs.

Keep the weight down as dogs with the correct weight will live longer and happier. Remember not to kill them with kindness and keep checking their weight by regular weighing at the vets.

Use a food type to suit old teeth if your dog has lost its teeth with age and get the vet to check the teeth as dental hygiene can extend your dog’s life by a few years.

Home life

A comfortable bed and warm surroundings become more important as the years pass, just as it does for ourselves.

Older dogs have more joint problems, like arthritis, and may need help lifting into transport or even by providing ramps. Remember many dogs suffer pain and agony from joint pain but cannot tell us so it is up to us to look for the tell tale signs and treat it effectively. Modern veterinary medicines are incredibly successful and it is only fair to give our pets the benefit of this success.

Hearing and eyesight can be a problem so we need to be patient and adapt by leaving furniture in the same position.

Take care on hot sunny days as they cannot cope with extremes.

So why not adopt an older dog from one of the charities as they can be perfect companions for your lifestyle.