Senior Poodle: What’s the Best Way to Care for Your Old Poodle?

Categorized as Poodle Breed Information, Poodle FAQs
Senior Poodle: What’s the Best Way to Care for Your Old Poodle? 1

Have you ever wondered what a senior poodle is? What does it really mean? How do I know when my poodle turns a senior? How Should Take Care Of my Senior Poodle?

A poodle enters their senior years after the seven year mark. The term senior refers to the aging of the poodle after they turn 7+. Taking care of a poodle is quite soothing and isn’t as complicated as it may seem.

Senior poodles are a fantastic pet to have in the house. They are intelligent, proud, and make an outstanding family member.

However, as time passes by, your poodle might not be able to do things they once did with ease and comfort. At such a time, they require care and attention from their owners.

But, before we get started, I would first like to congratulate you because you are doing an excellent job looking after your old poodle and are motivated enough to seek out more information.

If you are one of the kind souls who is planning to adopt an old poodle or planning to bring home an old rescued poodle, do let us know how it went for you in the comments below!

Regardless of your motivation for seeking out more information on senior poodles, this article provides all the information you will need to understand your aging poodle and best care for them.

When Do Poodles Become Seniors?

Recognizing the signs of an aging poodle has more to do than trying to find grey hair.

So, what does an “old poodle” really mean?

Signs of an aging dog differ from breed to breed. Aging signs of a Mastiff may be different from that of a poodle.

In poodles, toy and miniature poodles will age the fastest and start showing the signs seniority a bit later than a standard poodle.

This happens because of the difference in size and is the reason why miniature poodles have a longer lifespan than a standard poodle.

Poodle Size

Life Expectancy

Senior Poodle Age

Standard Poodle 11 – 13 Years 8 – 9 Years Onward
Medium or Moyen Poodle 12 – 15 Years 8 – 9 Years Onward
Miniature Poodle 14 – 16 Years 7 Years Onward
Toy Poodle 14 – 16 Years 7 Years Onward

There are certain things you can do to help your poodle age gracefully.

At the top of that list is diet.

Diet plays an important role when it comes to how your poodle is going to age with time.

Check out our detailed guide on how and what to feed your senior poodle dog.

Signs of an aging poodle:

  • Graying of the muzzle (Completely or partially)
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of vision
  • Arthritis
  • Weight gain
  • Noticeable decline in energy levels

What’s the Best Way to Care for Your Senior Poodle

What’s the Best Way to Care for Your Senior Poodle

Setting a Routine For Your Senior Poodle

Routine plays an essential role in everyone’s life, be it a human or a poodle.

A senior poodle will flourish if they can follow a specific routine, so I highly advise you set a routine for your old poodle where you feed them on time, exercise on set times and take them on walks.

Now, I understand that many of you may not have all day to sit around and make sure you do everything for your poodle on time.

In such a situation, try to create a routine around your daily schedule.

Setting a routine for a senior poodle helps in a lot of ways:

  1. They wake up and go to sleep at around the same time
  2. They know when it’s time to be fed
  3. Eating at set meal times give your senior’s body sufficient time to digest the food efficiently
  4. They know when it’s time to go out, so they won’t bug you to take them out if it’s not time

These are just some of the advantages you can expect if your senior poodle follows a routine.

Senior Poodle Nutrition

Let me explain why you need to pay attention to what you feed your senior with the help of a suitcase analogy.

Whether we like the process of packing things in a suitcase but the essence, there is no wrong way of packing a suitcase.

Sounds weird, you say? It’ll make sense, I promise.

While packing, everyone packs the same necessities (toothbrush, clothing, money, passport, etc.), each person packs something we like to call “extras” (your favorite t-shirt, striped skirt, book for the journey, etc.).

Still, no one is going to stop you from stuffing down things you want (for example, a bunch of chocolates and cookies) while altogether avoiding the necessities.

Similarly, there is no wrong way to feed your dog; think of their body as a suitcase.

Now, you can stuff their body with food items you want, or you could give them a planned and balanced meal so that they get all the essential nutrients they require for their well being.

📙 Check out our guide on Senior Poodle Nutrition for more information.

Now, I understand that neither us humans nor our canine friends will necessarily like a planned diet.

But, what you need to understand is giving your senior a diet that ensures their wellbeing will put less stress on their digestive system, and hence they will have more energy to spend

Also. If any of you lovely people have a better analogy, please leave them in the comments below. (I really need a better analogy)

Grooming Needs For Your Old Poodle

All dogs, regardless of their age, breed, or gender, require regular grooming. Grooming a poodle keeps them feeling fresh and happy.

As your poodle ages, their ability to self groom declines, so it falls on you to help groom your poodle. These actions don’t take a lot of time but help your old buddy feel good.

The reason why your poodle’s ability to self groom declines is that they tend to lose their flexibility as they age.

Dogs can usually reach their rear or stomach with ease, but if your dog is old or overweight (or both), they might find it challenging.

Here are a few practical tips to properly groom your aging buddy:

Brush their coat regularly.

Brushing your poodle’s coat doesn’t have to be tedious and lengthy.

Just make sure you set aside some time each week to brush your poodle’s coat from top to bottom.

Pay particular attention when you’re brushing the rear, hind legs, and tail underside.

Keep an eye out for any discharge; your senior pup might get some feces or urine stuck. Frequent washing of those specific areas will help eliminate any unwanted substance.

It is highly recommended that you use a good coconut oil shampoo that will not affect your dog’s natural oil balance.

I recommend BioSilk Shampoo & Conditioner With Organic Coconut Oil (Click To Check Price On Amazon).

📙 Check out our guide on How To Bathe A Poodle for more poodle bathing tips.

Check your poodle’s ears.

When you brush your poodle’s hair, make sure to check their ears and watch out for any signs that may indicate an ear infection.

These signs may include:

  1. Pungent Odor
  2. Pus
  3. Blood
  4. Red Skin

If you see any of these signs, you might want to consult your vet and follow what they recommend.

If everything seems okay, then you should proceed to clean your dog’s ears.

The process is simple, use apple cider vinegar (50%) and water (50%) on a cotton ball and gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ears.

You can also use alcohol on a cotton ball to achieve the same effect.

Trim your poodle’s nails.

As your dog ages, they start not to move around as much they did when they were young.

As a result, their nails won’t experience the same wear and tear.

If your poodle’s nails are extended, they start to put more weight on their shoulder while walking rather than putting that weight on their paws. This will affect their shoulder’s health.

To cut your dog’s nails, all you need is a dog nail clipper. There are a lot of different dog nail clippers.

For ease and comfort, I recommend Casfuy’s, Nail Grinder. However, if you like to clip your dog’s nails manually, I recommend Boshel Dog Nail Clipper.

Both of the recommended products were carefully chosen, keeping a senior poodle’s needs in mind.

Clean their teeth regularly.

Your dog’s teeth tell a lot about their overall health. Check their gums and teeth. If their teeth are covered in tartar, they may become swollen.

To clean your dog’s teeth, you need a toothbrush and toothpaste. I recommend Vet’s Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste.

Make sure you brush your dog’s teeth once every day.

Dealing with Senior Poodle Health Issues

Many healthy poodles do not have to face any issues in their old age; this is achieved primarily due to a proper healthy diet, ample exercise, training, and scheduled visits to the vet.

However, some senior poodles are not as fortunate and may suffer from health issues that you may not foresee or prevent.

Let’s discuss some of the common health issues in senior poodles:

  1. Potty Problems: Your old poodle may not control the bowel movements as efficiently as they once could. To avoid any accidents, increase the number of times you take your dog out to poo.
  2. Arthritis: This is one of the most common health issues senior poodles have to deal with. The symptoms of arthritis may include stiffness, slow movement after waking up from a nap, and limping. Please consult your vet and follow what they recommend.
  3. Hearing issues: Your senior dog may be suffering from hearing problems if you call them, and they don’t respond, or they stop responding to other noises that would otherwise alert them (opening the refrigerator door, crackling the wrapper of a snack, etc.).
  4. Poor eyesight: Fading eyesights in poodle develop as they age. It may be caused by a lot of eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. If you notice that your senior isn’t able to see as clear as they once did, get them checked from a vet.

Your Guide to Senior Poodle Grooming

Your Guide to Senior Poodle Grooming

Adopting a Senior Poodle

If you’re one of the kind souls who is thinking about adopting a senior poodle. Maybe, you are thinking of rehoming a senior poodle from a shelter.

Whatever the case may be, I highly respect your generosity and would love to hear your experience, so be sure to let me know down in the comments section.

There are thousands and thousand of poodles among many other breeds that are captured and kept in captivity in what is known as “puppy mills”.

They are kept in small cages their entire life just to produce cute looking babies which then go to pet shops and online online sites that sell puppies.

Resucing dogs from such cruel places is the kindest thing one can do.

If you want to learn more about puppy mills, I recommend checking out The Dark Side of Britain: Puppy Farms.

For now, Let us take a look at all the things you should consider when adopting a senior dog.

Advantages of adopting a senior poodle over a poodle puppy:

  1. A Senior Poodle does not require as much attention and care as a poodle puppy will
  2. Puppies can’t be left alone for more than 2-3 hours.
  3. Puppies need to be housetrained and socialized.
  4. Veterinary bills may be comparatively higher for a puppy as compared to a poodle.
  5. An old poodle will be better behaved and much calmer than a puppy.

Now that we have listed some of the advantages of adopting a senior poodle over a poodle puppy, let us also discuss some of the disadvantages of adopting a senior poodle:

  1. One of the disadvantages that stand out is that a puppy will stay with you for many more years than a senior will.
  2. Even though most of the seniors are kept for adoption because their owners moved to another place, many owners leave their dogs for adoption when they know that their dog is suffering from a health issue.
  3. A lot of senior poodles suffer from separation anxiety, so you can’t leave them alone.

📙 Check out our guide on How To Deal With Poodle Separation Anxiety to get more insight.

Introducing A Puppy To Uplift Your Senior’s Spirits

Introducing a puppy to your senior poodle can do wonders for your dog’s temperament and energy levels.

An ideal time to introduce a puppy is 7 to 10 years; by this time, your poodle is still energetic enough to have fun with a puppy and have a good time.

The timing depends on how well you have fed your dog.

If they have been fed well, you can wait around until 11-12 years, but if they start showing signs of aging around the 8-year mark, you should consider bringing in the puppy.

Grey standard poodle with black poodle puppies

Grey standard poodle with black poodle puppies

Research has shown that puppies that grow up in an older dog’s presence are much easier to train as they tend to mimic the older dog’s behavior.

The initial introduction is crucial, especially if your dog is more on the possessive side.

When I first brought home Candy (my Labrador Retriever) to Alex (My Black Poodle), the introduction didn’t go as planned, and Candy almost got hurt.

Some dogs are a bit more possessive about their owners and don’t want to share your love with anyone else.

To avoid your new puppy getting scared or even worse, hurt, make sure to introduce them on neutral territory (outside your home, etc.).

Let your senior poodle and your puppy sniff each other but be ready to pull them away if things go south.

When you go back to the house, let your senior poodle get in first and allow the puppy to follow their lead.

If your dog is possessive about their food, feed both your dogs separately to avoid any conflicts. You can get a crate for your puppy to avoid them bugging the senior while they sleep.

It is normal for your senior to growl at times to teach the puppy some manners, so there is no need to separate them.

Ever since we introduced the Labrador puppy to our poodle, she looks much younger than her chronicle age.

A majority of her day is taken up by playing with Candy, and she gets a lot more exercise done this way.

Seeing your senior dog active once again is a sight every owner wishes to witness, and it is possible by introducing a baby doggo at the right time in your senior’s life.


Being in a senior dog’s presence is truly a wonderful time that not a lot of people get to experience.

If you’re one of those fortunate ones, do let me know about your experiences in the comment section down below.

I hope I was able to provide all the information you’ll need to take proper care of your senior poodle.

That will do it for Senior Poodle Guide.

I’ll see you in the next one.

Have a great rest of the day!

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!


  1. I adopted a senior mini poodle two years ago. She is insanely loyal but has bad separation anxiety. Luckily, my job allows me plenty of time at home with her and my chihuahuas and my mom babysits when I need to go off. I take the stroller with me so she can come along on my walks, errands, etc.

  2. Thanks for the info! We have a 15 1/2 year old toy poodle. We have had her since she was 8 weeks old. She is so so loyal and peppy and is 100% a member of the family. She has lost most of her sight and hearing but it doesn’t slow her down much at all. We keep a very regular schedule with her and she knows exactly when to expect what. She pays attention to everything that goes on in our home. Does anyone have cyst issues on their poodle? Our Macy has a couple large cysts on her back and we have to cover them with a tshirt otherwise she will bite them off and cause lots of bleeding. Is this common? Poodles are the nicest dogs!!!

    1. Hello,
      We have a 13 1/2 year old toy poodle. She is a rescue and has the nicest of tempers, very sweet and still acts like a puppy sometimes. We also have the same issue with the cysts, I would not say they are big but medium and small and she also bites them and they bleed – the vets did not know what it was when I mentioned it. I have been applying some rose geranium oil to help in case they are itchy.

      1. It is absolutely crucial for the well-being of your beloved dog that you take immediate action if they are biting and scratching at their cysts, causing them to bleed. Cysts can be caused by various factors, but the only way to know for sure what is causing them is by consulting a veterinarian. While applying essential oils like rose geranium oil may provide temporary relief, it is in no way a substitute for professional veterinary care.

        Your veterinarian may not be able to give a specific diagnosis right away and may refer you to a specialist such as a dermatologist for further examination. In addition, they may also recommend antibiotics or other medication to help manage the symptoms. Do not wait until it is too late, keep an eye on the cysts and bring them to the attention of a vet if they change size, shape, or become inflamed. Keeping a journal of your dog’s symptoms can also be helpful for the vet to understand their condition better. Trust me, your dog’s health and happiness is worth taking this extra step.

        Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. I have an eleven year old miniature poodle mix, who will be 12 in Feb 2023. His energy level has dropped dramatically in the last couple of years. Riley is my first dog. He is pampered, fed well, regular visits the vet, including teeth cleanings, and walked daily. What is normal aging for my little fellow, and at what age?

    1. I would say 7 years or so is when a miniature starts showing signs of aging.

      Signs like being a bit stiff after a nap, not wanting to play for as long or as hard, increased vocalization, change in weight, reduced appetite, etc.

      With age, like any other dog, it’s possible that miniatures may develop some health issues. I would recommend getting a geriatric profile done, this includes a complete physical examination and a blood workup.

      Doing so will give your vet a chance to diagnose and catch on any health issues early on and keep Riley happy and healthy!

  4. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you so much for starting this site. We have an 11 year old Standard Poodle that just started having some issues. She gets rattled by any squeak to the point of shivering. She also won’t walk up the stairs without thinking about it. We’ve started having her wear doggie socks with grippy bottoms and oiled all of our hinges. Have any of your reader’s experienced this kind of thing? Other than that she still runs around and loves roaming her fenced back yard. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Shaun,

      It is not uncommon for older dogs to develop anxiety around the idea of climbing stairs.

      You’re already doing great by making your poodle wear doggie socks. I would also suggest that you make sure your poodle’s nails are trimmed.

      Long nails put a lot of pressure on a dog’s shoulders and joints, especially when they are climbing down the stairs.

      As for your poodle getting rattled, dogs tend to develop sensitive hearing as they get old. They may not be able to hear a lot of things and when they do hear something it may cause them to act the way you’re describing.

      I would definitely advise you to consult a vet and get your dog’s ears checked.

      If you have any further questions, please let me know!

  5. At the start of Covid, I lost my poodle of 18 years. It was quiet in the house so I looked up miniature poodles and found a bonded senior pair at the local humane society. These dogs were 12 and 13. I meet them and fell in love. They had been surrendered twice in their life and bounced around to foster care. I was so happy to give them their forever home. They love to sleep in my bed, snuggle with me on the couch, go for short walks, and play with toys. Sadly, I recently lost the male dog who was almost 16. He had several illnesses right in a row and just could not keep fighting. I was with him through the entire process so he would be at peace and free from pain. His sister is still with me and does not act her age of 15. I am so glad I was able to be their forever person but I wish I had longer with my little peanut.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Michele. Losing a pet is never easy and it is clear that your poodle was very special to you. It takes a lot of love and commitment to provide a loving home for senior pets who have been through a lot and it’s so admirable that you were able to do that for them.

      My heart goes out to you as you go through this difficult time, remember the memories and the love you shared with your furry companion.

      If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here for you!

  6. Hello Poodle lovers! I have had poodles since my 10th birthday and I’m now 66, so a long time! I have toy brown brother and sister poodles. They are 9 years, 3 months. I’ve noticed in the last few months that they are not really interested in their early afternoon or evening walk. They would rather stroll and sniff. I’m concerned about this because my past toy poodles have not shown signs of slowing down until about age 12. They are in excellent health and I am home with them 24/7 If I go somewhere, they go with me. They get a car ride and a golf cart ride everyday. If we go out to a restaurant, they come with us in their stroller. Maybe I’m worried about nothing, which I’m prone to do when it comes to them. I would love to hear others’ experiences with toy poodles and the aging process.

  7. When do you know them it’s time to say goodbye? My toy poodle is 16 and has had a wonderful life, he is now nearly totally deaf, can’t see well and constantly bumps into things, very arthritic and sleeps 10-15 hours per day… his personality has changed and he is now grumpy and can be nippy… I’m constantly worried when he’s around strangers in case he nips, his appetite comes and goes… on the other hand he has days when he’s like a puppy and runs, plays and is cuddly up to a point! It feels wrong to euthanise a happy (ish) dog but I feel we’re losing his essence..

    1. Traci, I can understand how incredibly difficult and emotional it must be for you to see your baby poodle’s health decline.

      I would suggest that you take some time off to sit down alone and write down all your thoughts, emotions, and concerns in a journal.

      Once you’ve finished, take another sheet of paper and list down every possible thing that is troubling you when it comes to your toy poodle’s condition. Under each concern, try to come up with a solution if you can.

      Now, I am no psychologist but I think this is a good place to start. If there a lot of issues that you think can’t be helped then I suggest you talk to your vet and consider your option.

      Please, please, let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Love, Nancy x

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