There are dogs who stay with us for a short while. There are others that grow with us and with our children, the ones we consider as family members. And when our dogs grow old and grey, we fear the day of their departure from our world.
Senior dogs require much more care than younger ones. They don’t run around and get as much exercise. They don’t eat quite as much as they used to. They require more visits to the vet. How do we care for our aging dogs to make their time last more?
There are quite a number of things we should expect as our dogs age. They may develop arthritis or some other degenerative disease that will cause them to slow down and tire easily. Dental disease can also be a problem if they do not have proper care.
And since dental diseases are painful, it may result in weight loss and unkempt hair coat. They may also develop kidney disease, liver disease, or heart disease. On the other hand, since they don’t exercise as much, this may result to obesity which is as big an issue as weight loss itself.
Here are some tips in taking care of senior dogs from PetMD.com:
Schedule regular visits with your vet
Many diseases have subtle symptoms that we can miss, so it is important to have your dog examined at least yearly if it appears to be healthy. Remember, it is much cheaper to prevent diseases than it is to cure them!
Ask for a body condition evaluation during each visit
This is to monitor if your senior dog is overweight, underweight, or at an ideal body weight. You should also ask your veterinarian to show you how to evaluate your dog’s body condition at home.
Feed your senior dog a high quality diet
Choose one that is appropriate for your dog’s age and lifestyle.
Use food to keep your senior dog at his ideal body weight
Overweight dogs tend to acquire diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin disease, and even cancer. Your vet can help you choose an appropriate diet, as senior dogs have to be fed carefully.