All dogs need their owners to allocate time to care for them, but old dogs need even more attention. At the age of seven to ten, dogs start their senior years. Larger breeds start their senior years a little earlier than the smaller breeds.
In most breeds, graying of the coat is usually one of the most obvious signs that they are getting old. Others might include getting tired too quickly while playing, getting out of bed late, poor hearing, and longer hours of sleep.
The signs will most likely be so subtle that you will not even notice. You should keep an out for these signs once your dog reaches the age of seven. Once you establish that your dog is now a senior citizen of your house, you have to pay a little more attention to it. Here are a few ways you can make its life easier and increase the quality of its senior years.
More frequent visits to the veterinary
Young and healthy dogs have a yearly checkup with the vet. Experts recommend increasing this to every six months for aging dogs. The vet should perform a thorough check up on your dogs ensuring that they do not miss anything important that may jeopardize their lifespan. Routine screening tests could also be useful for detecting problems early.
Dogs age just like human beings, with a love for routine and less physical activity. As the dog ages, the physiological changes going on in its body are out of your hands but there are a few lifestyle changes that can benefit it greatly. For example, the diet should be low in fats and high in proteins. You can ask your vet for a recommendation. The portions should be small and frequent other than one large meal at a time with wide intervals between them. This is easier on their digestive system that is slowing down with age.
Comfort is always a big part of your pet’s life that you want to get right. Old dogs cannot regulate their body temperatures as well as they used to when younger. Therefore, you will need to keep it warm and dry when it is not outside exercising. In order to avoid a heat stroke, you will need to keep it away from too much heat and humidity. Dogs with arthritis may need more ramps, blankets, and an orthopedic bed.
Symptoms to watch out for
Some of the symptoms you need to keep an eye out for are the inability to control bowel movements, shortness of breath, constipation, lumps, diarrhea, abnormal discharges, general body weakness, weight loss, or gain, unusual aggression, loss of appetite, or any other behavioral changes. When you notice a symptom, do not wait for your regular checkup. Call your vet immediately and schedule a visit.
Common health issues for senior dogs
Aging dogs, like human beings, tend to experience more health issues than younger ones. Some of the health issues they battle include cognitive problems, kidney failure, diabetes, intestinal problems, arthritis, and joint diseases. You have to take into consideration all these complications and plan for a way to alleviate the ones you can and visit a veterinary hospital in Ossining, NY for treatment of the others.