Older dogs, just like older people, are more likely to have health problems that need to be monitored. But at one point is your dog considered a senior, and what pet care steps do you need to take to keep them healthy and happy in Saint Francisville, LA?
The answer really depends on your specific dog and their breed. Giant breeds like Great Danes and St. Bernards will age faster and not live as long. Most of the time they are considered senior dogs by five to six years of age, a time when most smaller dogs would only be considered middle aged. Large breed dogs like golden retrievers might be considered senior between the ages of eight and 10. In addition to breed, other factors will play a role, including nutrition, genetics and the environment in which they’re raised.
As your dog ages, you can expect potential arthritis, and an inability to walk as far or play as long as they could when they were younger. Dental disease could also become an issue for older dogs, as well as kidney and liver diseases, heart disease and other conditions, which could manifest themselves in weight loss or gain.
Here are a few tips to make sure you keep your senior dog healthy:
- Take them to the vet more frequently: By the time your dog reaches their senior years, you’ll need to make sure you take them in for veterinary exams at least once a year as a preventative measure. This will help you uncover potential diseases before they start to get serious.
- Reconsider diet: Make sure you’re feeding your older dog a high-quality food, one that is appropriate for the age and lifestyle of your dog. Older dogs often have issues with becoming overweight due to a slowing down lifestyle, and overweight dogs are more likely to contract diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and skin diseases. Work with your veterinarian to pick a dog food that is right for your dog’s lifestyle.
- Consider supplements: Part of reconsidering your dog’s diet is determining if you need to add supplements, such as fatty acids or various vitamins. Supplements can help improve the condition of dogs that have mobility issues due to joint diseases like arthritis, and can also improve or protect against a variety of other conditions.
- Prioritize dental care: Brush your dog’s teeth regularly as they get older to help keep their mouth healthy. At the very least, consider using dental treats and toys to help them keep their teeth clean. Older dogs are at greater risk of dental disease.
- Get lots of exercise: Your dog should still get plenty of exercise in their senior years, even if you need to tailor your exercise to meet your dog’s abilities and requirements. Start slow if your dog is not used to exercise and gradually increase intensity, but don’t push too hard.
For more tips about pet care in Saint Francisville, LA, contact our team at St. Francisville Animal Hospital with any questions you have.
Categorised in: Pet Care