Senior Dog Care
Do You Have A Senior Dog? We love senior pets!
The onset of symptoms such as increased thirst, excessive barking and changes in sleeping patterns could, indeed, be signs of old age – and therefore precisely the time to bring your pet to Pet Wellness Animal Hospital for a senior pet exam.
A seven-year-old pet is equivalent to a 50-year-old human. An annual examination for your pet at that age is like a senior person getting a physical once every seven years. Consider that new technologies and procedures make it possible for pets to live longer and healthier lives than ever. Life-threatening problems of only a few years ago are treatable conditions today. A “don’t worry” mentality can result in minor problems quickly becoming major ones.
We recommend bi-annual senior pet wellness exams for dogs that have reached “senior status”. These exams are important in diagnosing illnesses early to prevent or delay the diseases that older animals are more prone to including kidney, heart, and liver disease; cancers; organ failure; osteoarthritis; and hormone disorders, and more. Regular senior pet health screenings also give us an opportunity to discuss with you any age-related changes that your pet may be experiencing and offer solutions to aid your aging dog.
In-between wellness exams, you can keep your senior dog healthy:
1.) Monitor changes in health, behavior and appearance. Note difficulty with urination and irregular bowel movements, which could be indications of something more serious.
2.) Continue (or begin) regular but moderate exercise. Start with ten minutes and increase based on your pet’s capacity. If you note difficulty with breathing or ability to exercise, alert our office.
3.) Switch to a senior-appropriate diet to provide higher quantities of important nutrients.
4.) Inspect your senior dog’s mouth, gums, and teeth regularly. Loose teeth and inflammation can be early signs of internal troubles, and can be painful for your senior canine.
7.) Increase the frequency of grooming and examinations. Check for rashes, lumps, sores and bad odors. Use senior specific products designed to maintain and protect their healthy coat. Daily grooming and brushing not only strengthens the bonds the two of you share, but also stimulates their oil glands, and promotes a healthy, shiny coat.
8.) Modify the environment to prevent sickness and injury. Keep rooms warm and dry. Senior pets, like their owners, can’t fight off common diseases and infections like they once could. Watch for difficulty climbing stairs and general disorientation.
9.) Control food portions and observe weight gain. Obesity in older cats and dogs, caused by slowing metabolism, can trigger arthritis, diabetes and other painful conditions that decrease life expectancy.
10.) Keep up the TLC. Mature pets need your love and affection more than ever. Such intangibles can absolutely add to your pet companion’s life expectancy. It may not be scientific, but it’s true.