It’s Senior Pet Month-Meet the Wellness Pet Food Staff’s Pets

senior pets through the years

It’s Senior Pet Month, so we wanted to take this opportunity to bring you profiles on some of the Wellness Pet Food team’s wisest, most mature pets from the perspective of their loving pet parents. From a loyal 17-year old Border Collie, Lhasa Apso mix to a former street kitty who’s now enjoying a life of leisure, we’ve tried to capture the unique experience of owning a senior pet. Keep reading to meet Abby, Isabelle, Bob and Sox.

Senior Pet: Abby, Mutt, Lab Mix
Pet Parent: Elaine O., Wellness Brand Team

senior dog selfie

Elaine capturing a selfie with senior pup, Abby.

Q. How long have you had your senior pet?

I found Abby as a stray about six years ago. I was vacationing in Yosemite, and she had been the town stray for two years. She lived outside and the restaurants were feeding her. She showed up my first morning as I was eating breakfast on the hotel patio. She just sat quietly next to me with her hopeful eyes saying, “You probably don’t want that bacon, right?” It took about 30 seconds for me to fall in love. Best guesses from my vet, once I brought her home, was that she was around 6 or 7 years old. We found that she had fairly significant arthritis, already, and a repaired right ACL. Someone had obviously loved her, but she had no microchip. Of course, she does now! I brought her home to live with me and my then senior dog Max – he was 12 years old at that time. I’ve had a fair amount of experience with senior pets. Max was with me until he was 16, and my dog before him was with me until she was 14. Abby is now 12 to 13 years old.

Q. What’s the best thing about having a senior pet?

If you’ve had your pet for some time, the bond between you, when they move into their senior years, is that much stronger. They’ve seen you through so much in your life.  At least, that’s how it’s been for me. When Abby looks at me, I know she knows…And Senior dogs like to spend more time ‘lovin’.  Abby loves everyone. She’s still curious and engaged, but she also is much more content.  And, at least with Abby, her body stiffness gives her a unique way of moving that is very endearing. She still gets excited about walks and mealtime (especially about mealtime), but instead of jumping around, she kind of does this stiff-legged dance. It’s adorable!

Q. What steps do you take to keep your senior pet in tip-top shape?

Because Abby has such significant arthritis, I do a lot to help her out. She goes for regular cold laser treatments to help with the swelling in her joints and water therapy (she swims) to keep her muscle tone and strength. Since she’s not a runner, anymore, the water therapy and exercise becomes very important to maintaining her health. I also learned how to give doggy massages which she gets just about every night. I give her Fish Oil supplements and a variety of supplements for her arthritis. I even make ‘golden paste’ for her, which is Turmeric – it’s a great natural remedy for arthritis.

senior dog swim therapy

Here’s Abby getting her cold laser therapy treatment (left) and paddling in the therapy pool

Q. What’s your pet’s favorite Wellness food or treat?

Abby loves all Wellness treats, but she has a special interest in WellBites. Yesterday, she managed to break into the treat cupboard.  I have a healthy variety of treats to choose from in the cupboard, but she went for the WellBites!

For mealtime, Abby gets a special, customized blend of food, starting with one of our great dry kibble products as a base. I like CORE RawRev Wild Game, but I also use CORE Ocean. I mix in the CORE Tender Bites as a topper – this product is amazing!  Then I add some fresh veggies like carrots, peas and spinach to make it a bit more interesting for her. She loves mealtime! It’s her favorite part of the day! And I love to see her dance around while I get her meal ready – so it’s my favorite part of the day, too.

Senior Pet: Isabelle- Mutt, Border Collie, Lhasa Apso mix
Pet Parent: Chanda L., Marketing

young dog with toy

Isabelle at 2-years-old with her favorite toy.

Q. How old is your pet?

At 17, Isabelle is our most senior lady here at Wellness.

Q. How long have you had your senior pet?

I was on an email list for a local rescue group, and they let me know that a family in Poland Spring, Maine had puppies available for adoption. The puppies were a mix of Border Collie and Lhasa Apso (that’s what they told us, at least!). We drove more than four hours from Southern New Hampshire to pick her up. She was only 6 weeks old and was such a little peanut. (Back then, I was not as knowledgeable about adopting a puppy, and didn’t know that she shouldn’t have been adopted before she was two months old.) Isabelle was a handful when she was puppy. I enrolled her in puppy training classes, but we never graduated…she was not a model student! She complies half the time, but her sweet personality always makes up for any naughty behavior.

Q. What’s the best thing about having a senior pet?

senior dog

Isabelle at 17-years-old.

As she’s continued to grow older, she has kept her puppy-like joy and happy-no-matter-what attitude, even though she’s lost some mobility in her legs, and her sight isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Although her body has slowed down, Isabelle’s personality has become even softer. Her tail still wags when I come home, or when she gets to go outside and play in the grass. Plus, I’m still her favorite; she follows me around the house–when I leave a room she moves with me, and she sleeps by my side every night. I know that each day I have her I’m incredibly lucky she’s been a member of our family for so long.

Q. What steps do you take to keep your senior pet in tip-top shape?

As a member of my family, I’ve always wanted Isabelle to have the best life she can. Caring for a senior pet can be hard work, not to mention the emotions you experience seeing them not be able to jump as high as they once could, or not hear you when you call their name. As the oldest of our three pets (we have a Sheltie named Stanley, and a Tortoiseshell cat named Brownee), Isabelle is the most spoiled. She has a plush orthopedic bed, which increases circulation and reduces stiffness — perfect for dogs with arthritis. We’ve elevated her food and water bowls so it’s easier for her to eat and drink. And as a perk of being a member of the WellPet family, she enjoys Old Mother Hubbard Hip and Joint All-Natural Dog Snacks and daily meals of Wellness Homestyle Stews like Turkey & Duck with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries – perfect for the Fall and Holiday season.

Q. What’s your pet’s favorite Wellness food or treat?

Isabelle has been enjoying Wellness Complete Health Whitefish & Sweet Potatoes since I joined WellPet as a marketing team member back in 2006! She now loves our new Wellness Complete Health Grain Free recipes. Everyone always asks, “what’s the secret to having a dog that’s 17 years old?”. She continues to live such a healthy life because she’s been a Wellness dog for so long. She’s a true testament to the power of natural nutrition for our furry family members.

Senior Pet: Bob, Domestic Longhair, Maine-Coon Mix
Pet Parent: Carly W., Marketing

Q. How long have you had your senior pet?

We’ve been grateful to have had Bob for the last 6 ½ years. When we adopted Bob, the shelter told us he was known by locals to have lived in a trailer park as a stray for two years before he was rescued (even through the harsh New England winters). When we took him to the vet in 2011, they estimated his age at 8-10 years old, so we think he’s about 15 or 16 years old today. 

cat with shaved body

When he was first rescued, Bob got a terrible haircut to remove his mats. As you can see, he was not at all happy about this.

cat snuggling with person

Photo from the first day Bob was brought home. He immediately made himself comfortable!

When we first took Bob home, we found he had many health problems—fleas, infections, bad teeth, asthma and a heart condition! But he’s always had the most loving, endearing temperament, so working through his health problems seemed like no big deal. Along with a lot of healing snuggles and purrs, we credit his health improvements to his food. From the time we started feeding Wellness, we noticed his allergic dermatitis heal and his coat turn silky smooth.

Q. What’s the best thing about having a senior pet?

Senior pets are the best! When we adopted Bob, we knew exactly what to expect from his personality. Bob has a lot of wisdom from his experience on the streets–you can tell from his eyes. He’s not easily rattled, and always makes it clear if he needs food or pets. He still loves to play a little each day, but is usually content to snuggle with us on the couch or sleep in one of his favorite spots (he rotates between a few).

cat outside on porch

Bob showing off his salt-and-pepper muzzle.

Q. What steps do you take to keep your senior pet in tip-top shape?

Bob is a longhaired cat so we brush him regularly to cut down on hairballs and make it easier for him to groom himself. We play with him and take him outside in a supervised, fenced-in area so he can enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice. We give him a pill each day for his heart, and take him to the vet regularly. We also feed him Wellness wet food exclusively which keeps him hydrated and is easier on his teeth. We monitor his weight and if he seems to be losing or gaining weight, we adjust his diet accordingly.

Q. What’s your pet’s favorite Wellness food or treat?

cat eating wellness kittle treats

Bob getting spoiled on National Cat Day with an array of Wellness Kittles.

Bob has never tasted a Wellness recipe he isn’t crazy for! In general, he prefers seafood. His favorites are Wellness CORE Whitefish, Salmon & Herring wet food which is nice and hearty, as well as Wellness Complete Health Minced Tuna wet food which has his favorite protein. He also turns into a kitten again any time we shake a bag of Wellness Tuna & Cranberries Kittles, meowing and scrambling to get to them as fast as he can!

Senior Pet: Sox, Lab Mix
Pet Parent: Beth C., Sales

Q. How long have you had your senior pet?

Sox has been a member of the Carchia family since he was a teeny pup, 11.5 years! Sox came to live with me and my husband when my Father in Law became too ill to care for him, so Sox has been living with us for about 2.5 years.

dog in shirt

Here’s Sox as a youngster, repping his Bruins jersey!

Q. What’s the best thing about having a senior pet?

The best thing about a senior pet is the love they share with you. They know you and your routine better than you do sometimes and we can set our watch by him. Sox knows exactly when we are planning to take him for a walk, when it’s dinner time, when he’s supposed to get his treats (he certainly reminds us when we are late!) and when it’s time to cuddle on the couch. Senior dogs come at a different pace. Sox has arthritis in his hips so he’s not as fast as he used to be, but that makes him more content to just be with us on a slow walk or a car ride instead of constantly being on the run. Since we have a baby this makes our life a little easier to manage!

Q. What steps do you take to keep your senior pet in tip-top shape?

senior dog lying on couch

Sox is still young at heart!

Sox eats Holistic Select for his diet and gets at least a 30 min walk every single day. His food helps him maintain a healthy weight, good digestion and has extra nutrients to help with his bones and joints. Walks are very important for older dogs with arthritis, the better shape they are in and consistent exercise keeps his joints from stiffening up. He also receives a hip/joint supplement every day, as well as a pain medication 2x/day for his arthritis. We take him to doggie daycare once a week to keep him socialized and get him extra exercise. He is one of 3 senior pups there and is a staff favorite! Daycare keeps him young at heart and likes to try and play with all of the younger pups!

Q. What’s your pet’s favorite Wellness food or treat?

Sox adores Old Mother Hubbard treats, Wellbars and Core Freeze Dried 100% Treats. He loves them all!

We’d love to see photos and read stories about your senior pets! Post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using: #wellnesspetfood  and #seniorwellnesspet. We’ll feature some of our favorites on our website!


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Health & Nutrition Life Stage



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