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  • Writer's pictureLeilani Nichols

Caring for an Aging Cairn Terrier: 3 essential tips


As your Cairn Terrier ages, their needs will change, requiring extra attention and care to ensure they remain healthy and happy. Here are three key things you can do to support your senior Cairn Terrier:


1. Adjust Their Diet

Older dogs have different nutritional needs compared to younger ones. Switching to a senior dog food formula can help manage their weight, support joint health, and provide the necessary nutrients for overall well-being.


  • Choose High-Quality Senior Dog Food: Look for dog food specifically formulated for senior dogs, which usually contains fewer calories, more fiber, and additional supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

  • Monitor Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to reduce the strain on their joints and prevent obesity-related health issues. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes and feeding schedule.

  • Consider Supplements: Talk to your vet about adding supplements to their diet, such as omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health, or probiotics for digestive support. We love our NuVet joint support supplements order code 265948

2. Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Frequent veterinary visits are essential for catching potential health issues early and managing existing conditions.

  • Schedule Regular Check-Ups: As your Cairn Terrier ages, increase the frequency of vet visits to at least twice a year. Regular exams can help detect issues such as arthritis, dental problems, or heart disease early.

  • Monitor Health Changes: Keep an eye on any changes in behavior, appetite, or physical condition. Report any concerns to your vet promptly.

  • Vaccinations and Preventatives: Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. Older dogs can be more susceptible to infections and parasites.

3. Provide Comfort and Mental Stimulation

Ensuring your senior Cairn Terrier is comfortable and mentally engaged is crucial for their quality of life.

  • Comfortable Living Environment: Provide a warm, quiet, and easily accessible resting area. Consider orthopedic dog beds to support their joints and alleviate discomfort. Cairns are small dogs, so also consider proving step stools or ramps in places they didn't need them before.

  • Gentle Exercise: Regular, low-impact exercise is important to maintain mobility and muscle tone. Short, gentle walks and play sessions can keep them active without overexertion. Motion is lotion! A dog in motion, stays in motion. Letting an older cairn become obese is very bad for their health. If you live somewhere warm you would be amazed how many cairns love swimming! Once they are confident in their life jacket they are off to the doggy swimming races.

  • Mental Stimulation: Keep their mind sharp with interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and training sessions. Mental stimulation helps prevent cognitive decline and keeps your dog engaged and happy. I love to have my established dog bring up my next puppy in that sweet spot of my first dog is mature, but not yet so old that they're deteriorating. The old dog will help teach the new one, and the young one will keep the old one young! (Go with your gut on if you're dog is spry enough for this adventure)



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