How old is an old dog? It depends on the breed and the individual dog. Some large breed dogs are seniors at 6 years of age, while smaller breed dogs may not be considered old until they are over 10. Also, the effects of old age vary greatly from individual to individual, depending on health conditions like arthritis, hearing loss or blindness, one dog may be fit as a fiddle and relatively unaffected by aging, requiring few special considerations, while other dogs may be riddled with health conditions, making handling them difficult and calling for special precautions while grooming.
As a dog ages, they tend to experience joint and muscle pain and mobility issues that can make grooming more of a challenge, as manipulating your dog to groom can cause the dog discomfort. You will need to take care and consideration when grooming a dog that is experiencing such discomfort. Older dogs that experience sensory difficulties, like a reduced ability to hear and see, can also become anxious or confused. Consideration will need to be given their reduced abilities in order to make them comfortable. Also, old dogs can be just plain grumpy, sort of like old people sometimes are! Keeping grooming sessions short and having patience may be necessary to keep an older dog from becoming frustrated.
Older dogs need grooming just like younger dogs, more so even. Older dogs can experience dry skin and skin conditions, like yeast infections, more frequently. Regular grooming to prevent and discover conditions and address them as necessary is required. Remember that an older dog may experience physical discomfort moving--take your time to find out what is comfortable for the dog. Make sure you recognize deficiencies in hearing and sight that can make a dog anxious and change their behavior. Move slowly and be gentle and patient while grooming your older dog.