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Who Are These People?: Thanksgiving with a Senior Pup

It’s Thanksgiving Day 

You’re setting the table, preparing the turkey, and excitedly awaiting the arrival of your family and friends. Your senior pup, Cheddar, is sure to be excited to see everyone. Thanksgiving is his favorite! Every year he gets all of the attention and the occasional nibble of turkey, thanks to Grandpa. 

The first of your family’s cars pull into the driveway and Cheddar paws at the window anxiously. Your Uncle opens the door, and fright overcomes your beloved pup. He doesn’t greet him like he usually does with kisses and excitement; instead, he backs away with uncertainty. Sure—he’s getting older, but he’s met Uncle Bob a million times.

As more people arrive, Cheddar becomes more anxious and begins pacing the house and whining frantically at the family who has loved and cherished him for 12 years. It’s only been a month or two since he’s seen them, how can this be? 

Our Pups are Getting Older

Unfortunately, our adored pets aren’t immune to the memory loss, anxiousness, and confusion issues associated with aging. In fact, 60% of all senior pups develop the neurodegenerative disease canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), or canine dementia, by the age of eleven. CCD is very prominent in older pups, and there are many indicators to look for as they age.

Take Cheddar, for example. You’ve been noticing the way he paces aimlessly around the house, often staring in bewilderment at the toys he used to play with. Your verbal commands aren’t grabbing his attention, and he’s struggling to remember some of his first tricks. “Roll over!,” you instruct, but he looks up and tilts his head.

The strange behaviors don’t end there. Just a few months ago Cheddar would never have made a mess in the house, but recently he hasn’t been alerting you when he needs to go. Family and friends have become strangers, and your sweet senior pup is beginning to show aggression towards people and other dogs. 

All of these heartbreaking behaviors are indicators of CCD. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your pup. While there is no cure, a few lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms, especially if the disease is caught early. 

Daily Supplements 

As dogs get older, they may need supplemental aid for brain, heart, and digestive health—just like humans. You may want to consider adding these natural ingredients to your dog’s diet to combat some of the effects of canine cognitive dysfunction:

  • Ginkgo Biloba  
  • Fish Oil (Omega 3)
  • Resveratrol 
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • L-Theanine

Instead of tracking down each, look no further than Brain’s Best Friend—a tasty supplement designed with your senior pup in mind, for their mind. Formulated with all of the natural ingredients listed above and more, Brain’s Best Friend is like a time machine for the brain. This soft chew may boost cognitive function, memory, and recognition. Learn more about the ingredients that make Brain’s Best Friend the perfect “brain food.” (link to who moved my toys blog) 

 Natural Nutrition

Holistic veterinarians often express the need for natural foods in dogs’ diets. The truth is, processed foods may not sustain pets’ nutritional needs. While commercial foods may be convenient, the holistic benefits of a natural diet are essential for even the healthiest dogs. Those experiencing CCD are especially in need of balanced, natural diets with paired supplements to revitalize and support brain function. 

Enrichment Toys

Our gray-muzzled friends need extra mental stimulation in their golden years, and there’s no better way to stimulate your pet’s mind than using puzzle toys. These toys often use treats to motivate pets to solve puzzles that are challenging, but not difficult enough to cause frustration. There are even puzzle toys for dogs of different experience levels. Just starting out with puzzle toys? We recommend this Level 1 Dog Smart Game to prepare your pup for more challenging puzzles to come. 

Each level of toy equips your dog with the skills to take on the next level of cognitive stimulation. Not only are these toys wonderful for challenging their brain, they are designed to redirect negative behaviors such as those associated with canine cognitive dysfunction. Similarly, slow feeding bowls transform meals into opportunities to flex creative muscles. 

Senior Tips

Seeing our pets grow up and age is a fulfilling experience. Whether you met them as a puppy or they were adopted as an adult, you’ve given them all the love and tried to make their lives as comfortable as possible. Their coat may have streaks of gray now, but your goal remains the same...So how can you make your senior pup comfortable in their older years? 

 Keep Up Their Activity Level!

While your dog may love to lounge around the house, daily exercise is just as important now as it was when they were a puppy! Daily walks, playdates, and simple games of fetch can energize your senior pet and even prevent ailments such as obesity or anxiety.

Ditch the Tile

Tile and hardwood floors can cause muscle and back pain in dogs accustomed to running or jumping on them. Breeds prone to back issues such as Dachshunds or Beagles are especially susceptible to the ill effects of hard floors.

If your home has carpeted areas, consider playing with your pup there or placing cushioning rugs around the house. If your senior is known for jumping on furniture, a ramp for the couch or bed can make a world of difference in preventing muscle or back pain. 

Keep It Consistent 

Senior dogs love consistency. Some just aren’t a fan of change anymore, and that’s perfectly okay! To ensure they’re comfortable at home, limit moving furniture and objects for your pet such as their food bowl or bed.

Senior Supplements

We’ve already established how daily supplements can do wonders for the brain, but there is a lot more where that came from. That’s right—Gray Muzzle has an entire “Senior Friendly” line of products with remedies to keep older pups healthy “from tooth to tail.”



 Your pup may be getting older, but that’s all the reason to spoil them a little extra with functional supplements that are beneficial and tasty. The best part? Gray Muzzle products are packed with natural ingredients senior pups need to stay happy, healthy, and comfortable so you and Cheddar can make cherished memories for years to come.