Caring for Your Older Dog
Aging dogs need extra attention and care. When your canine companion reaches 7 years of age, they are considered a senior pet. Here are some helpful tips to keeping your fuzzy buddy happy, healthy, and comfortable:
Provide Quality Veterinary Care
Your senior pet should have regular veterinary exams every 6 months. Ideally, blood work should be run to monitor organ function. In addition, urine analysis, echocardiograms (EKGs), and radiographs (X-rays) can be helpful in catching problems before they affect your pet’s quality of life.
Closely Monitor Your Dog’s Weight
Obesity is common in older dogs. Added weight can cause a variety of health problems including diabetes and increased wear on joints causing early development of arthritis. Consult with you veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs.
Establish a Dental Care Program
Periodontal and other dental problems can make your aging pet uncomfortable and add to their risk for heart disease and other organ diseases. Your veterinarian can perform a dental assessment and make recommendations for dental care and professional cleaning.
Even though your aging pet may display less energy than during those puppy years, it is important not to let him become a canine couch potato. Daily exercise will promote strong muscles and general well-being. Try a daily walk or a gentle game of fetch.
Watch For Changes
Even slight changes in behavior, activity level, appetite or thirst can be key indicators that something is plaguing your older canine buddy. If you notice something out of the ordinary, schedule a check up so your veterinarian can assess and diagnose any problems that could be detrimental to your dog’s health and happiness in his senior years.