Senior Dog Quirks

My dogs are my life. I literally grew up with them. My mother adopted them when they were little baby babies from a shelter in the early 2000's. Belle, the black haired lady, is 15, and Romeo, the blonde boy of dreams, is 13. I spend my days and nights with these babies. I share a twin sized bed with them, and they're not exactly small. They're my best friends, and they're really old. 

Of course, my love for them only grows as time goes on, but as they've aged, noticeable habits have appeared that have changed how we function as a unit, and how they live their lives. I don't even know if this post will help any of you, but I hope it can. Dogs deserve to live the happiest, easiest, longest lives possible, and we can all learn from others. I am no expert, but these are my own personal experiences.


This is very basic. Romeo used to have a lot more ginger in his fur, but he's a platinum boy these days. He's got some cataracts that I've nicknamed "Night Eyes," because they're most visible at night. Belle has a silver snout, and her cataracts are much more visible than her brother's. They've both got some harmless lumps, Belle more than Romeo. It's always good to get the lumps checked by a vet to stay safe, but I think they're usually harmless.

Belle's skin has lost a lot of elasticity, so her belly hangs now, but her fur is so long that you don't even see it. She used to be a round baby, but she's pretty svelte in her old age.

Loss of Sight and Hearing

Both dogs have lived most of their lives with perfectly normal senses. Now however, Belle is completely deaf, and she's losing her sight as well. She can see just fine during the day, but once dusk hits, she might bump into something, be it a person or a piece of furniture. She recovers immediately, but it's pitiful for sure. Romeo is very hard of hearing. He can hear higher pitches, so my exchanges with him are on the annoying high pitched baby voice side of things, but I do not care in the slightest. He can hear me that way, and that's all that matters.

I talk with my hands a lot. It's usually something I don't realize I do, but it's come in handy with senior dogs. Years and years of giving them commands with unintentional matching hand signals have given me a way to direct them, converse with them if you will, in a way they can both still comprehend. I can still direct them in and outside, to another room, up/down off furniture, and to sit. Belle still plays dead. She's very impressive.

If you've got younger dogs, always use hand signals when you give them commands. You'll thank yourself later. I also still talk to Belle though she can't hear me. If she sees me talking to her, she'll perk up and wag her tail, so it's completely worth it.


This is directly related to the loss of hearing, and MY GOD is it trying. The barks usually come from Romeo. Belle barks, or screams, basically, when she's outside in the evening, and she can't see through the storm door, so she thinks she's been left outside forever. Romeo barks every twenty minutes, at most.

I think he barks so much because he doesn't realize he can communicate any other way. He barks to go outside, and he barks when he wants to cuddle, and he barks when he wants more food or water. I've gotten a lot better about not getting so stressed out by the frequent barking, but I'm still guilty of shouting in surprise when I'm caught off guard in a quiet moment by a very loud bark. Overall, I've grown used to his voice, and I understand that he just wants to talk. It's just so loud, because he can't hear, and he doesn't even know.

Excessive Bathroom Breaks

I'm seriously so thankful that my dogs are house trained. Always make sure your dogs are house trained. I will take loud barks over puddles in the house any day, even when it's 11:30 PM, and 4:30 AM, and as soon as Romeo realizes I'm awake in the morning. It's fine. It's fine. They both just need out all the time, because they're old, but it's fine.

They Need A Little Assistance

Sometimes they can't jump like they used to, and that's okay. Usually, they can jump on couches and the bed on their own (because I'm all about letting the dogs on the furniture), but sometimes they're a little more tired than usual, and they can't quite get their whole bodies up, and I have to pick them up like they're human children.

When this started, we were all a little worried, but it's the norm now, and the dogs are completely okay.

They Want to Cuddle Even More

They do! I think it's technically because they don't see me in a position above them in their pack (my bad), so they do it to protect me. They can't hear trouble approaching, but if they're right next to me, they can pounce if they need to. I'll take it anyway. I want to cuddle with them all the time.

They'll even sleep close together sometimes, which they never did in their younger years. I think this is a pack thing, but also for warmth. They get cold much more often, which is also why you'll see me posting photos of them in sweaters.

This is a long post, I know, and if you made it this far, KUDOS. I can talk about my dogs forever. Thanks for reading.

I've got some interesting changes coming soon, and I'm going to be that annoying person who blasts her Instagram at any given chance. You can follow me here (@amberelb)!


  1. This is such a sweet post, I think your dogs are absolutely adorable! I also have two dogs, both will be 10 in August and I do notice little changes in their behaviour/character as they grow older. They definitely want to cuddle more and my boy (I have a girl too) - he panics every time I close the garden door; he thinks I am abandoning him outside like forever, which is hilarious considering he is constantly inside the house. Sometimes, when I come home in the evening, they might bark at me first thinking I am an intruder; that is until I switch on the light or start talking to them - this is when they wag their tails and jump at me. Dogs are the cutest and it's so special that someone (YOU!) took the time to write this wonderful post. Certainly something I truly appreciate! Sending virtual hugs to your fur babies xx

    Naya //

    1. This is such a sweet comment Naya, thank you. Sending virtual hugs to yours as well!

  2. Aww I can imagine how adorable Romeo's eyes are by night! It's so sweet you've picked up on all of their quirks as the years have gone by :)

  3. Your dogs are amazing! I always wish that people would show senior dogs as much love as they do puppies.

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

  4. I literally love this post, it's such a change to the basic repetitive posts I'm seeing on my dash every day haha. I love your appreciation for your dogs, it's all too common (and a massive shame) that people love their animals less when they reach a dearer age. My dog, like yours, grew up with me and I'm noticing that he's a lot more grey and hears us calling him less and less each day. It's sad, but it's life I guess.

    Little Moon Elephant

    1. Aw, just make sure he's got extra love! Older dogs deserve all of it.

  5. What a lovely post Amber and it sounds to me like you're doing the best to make the last years of their lives as best as possible with lots of cuddles and warm blankets etc etc! My family's cat is still quite young and not one to cuddle if it's not with me and that's only sometimes. But everyone keeps on saying that he'll cuddle more as he grows older and I think that's so sad and sweet at the same time! Have a lovely week Amber! Xx

    1. Of course! Ah, your cat is probably in the "young person phase," where he's super independent and too cool for humans lol. He'll grow out of it. Thanks Mia!

  6. Sooo cute!

  7. Indeed, they deserve to live happy a life! I adore dogs, but unfortunately I don't have one anymore since I live in apartment, but as soon as I move out I need to get one. Yours are adorable. Wishing you a lovely day. xx



Post a Comment