Caring For Senior Dogs
With advancements in veterinary care, senior animals are living longer than they ever have. Bigger breeds of dogs have shorter life spans than smaller breeds. For instance, a Chihuahua may not be considered a senior until she’s 10 or 11 years old, whereas a Great Dane is considered a senior around the age of 5 or 6.
One of the first signs you may notice that indicates that your dog is getting old, is when they start to get grey on their muzzle. She may start having trouble getting up, or finding a comfortable position to lay down. She’ll probably start slowing down when you take her for a walk, or she may not be able to walk quite as far as she used to.
The most important thing for you to do as your dog ages, is to make sure she stays as healthy as possible. Just as with humans, many dogs develop arthritis as they age. It’s a fact of life. Your job, as her human, is to make certain that she is as comfortable as possible.
Diet and Exercise
The dietary needs of a dog will change as they age. Feeding them high quality food is absolutely crucial to keeping them healthy and active. There are some excellent foods out there made specifically for the ageing dog. An overweight dog is more likely to develop diseases as she ages. Talk to your vet. He can make suggestions specific to your dog about what kind of diet would be best for your dog, because not all dogs’ dietary needs are the same as they age.
Just because she’s getting old, doesn’t mean she has to become a couch potato. Not only is her diet important, but she also needs to be kept active. That’s were you come in. She may need your help.
You might not be able to take her on long hikes anymore, but a nice walk never hurt anybody. If she seems to be slowing down during her walks, it might be best to shorten the walks a bit. Perhaps just slowing down will do the trick.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that senior dogs should have check-ups every 6 months. Some dog breeds are predisposed to certain medical conditions, such as hip dysplasia, kidney problems, diabetes, etc.. It would be wise to ask your vet what medical conditions your dog may have to look forward to in the future, and what signs you should be on the look out for.
It is critical to have your dog’s teeth cleaned on a yearly basis from the time she is around 2 or 3 years old. Again, just like humans, tartar build up can cause gingivitis in dogs. This causes bacteria to get in the bloodstream, which can be extremely dangerous because it can cause damage to their internal organs.
Their teeth can become infected, just like ours, and this is extremely painful. If that happens, you may notice that she isn’t eating as much as she used to. This could result in weight loss, and she may not be able to groom herself.
Senior dogs require a nutritional diet, exercise, regular check ups and routine dental care. You can also make sure she has a soft bed to lie on. If you have hard floors, perhaps a throw rug placed in areas where she normally lays will make it easier for her to get up. If your dog likes toys, make sure she’s got them to help keep her active.
- Do Dogs and Cats Suffer From Alzheimer’s?
- 5 Senior Dog Diseases You Need to Know
- Tips For Caring For Senior Dogs
- How to Recognize Signs of Arthritis in Pets
The links above were obtained from petmd.com.
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