Senior Dog Care
All that a young dog wants to do is spend their days running, playing, and loving life. We expect that when they become senior dogs, they will slow down and stop being active. But this doesn’t have to be so. By taking a little extra care, your dog’s later years can be just as vibrant and fun-filled as their early years. Like humans, dogs can have special needs as they age. We can help you understand the changes you’ve seen in your dog, and provide you with information and treatments to keep your older dog feeling like a puppy.
When does a dog become a senior?
Most dogs are considered seniors at 7 years old, this is similar to a human in their fifties. But dogs age at different rates, depending on their size. For very large breeds of dog, their expected life span is often several years shorter. So for these dogs, we begin treating them as seniors at 4 or 5 years of age. These ages are when diseases and problems related to old age start to become more common. Therefore this is the time when we want to start preventive care to keep your dog healthier in their advanced years.
What are common senior dog health issues?
Some of the diseases that senior pets are more likely to develop are diseases of the kidneys, liver, adrenal gland and thyroid gland, as well as diabetes. These conditions can be identified with a blood test, and most can be well controlled with medications. Arthritis is also a common disease we see in older dogs. It is common in larger breeds of dogs whose joints have to bear more weight. Treatments to alleviate pain will help your dog move comfortably again and can significantly improve their quality of life. Cognitive dysfunction is a disease that appears similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Changes in behaviour are the most common symptoms. Dogs may become confused and forget some of their training. The condition can be managed with simple changes to the dog’s lifestyle. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can significantly increase both your pet’s longevity and their quality of life.
How should I care for my senior dog? ( Schedule regular checkup, exercise, etc)
We speak of ‘dog years’ because ageing happens much more quickly for dogs than it does for us. Since problems can start to develop quickly, veterinary visits become all the more important. When you bring your dog in for a senior exam, we perform a full physical to spot any subtle changes. We also recommend blood tests that will identify the beginning stages of a new disease. This preventative approach can substantially extend your dog’s life since many senior’s diseases can be treated with much greater success if we identify them early on. Senior dogs also have different nutritional needs than younger dogs. We can help you find food that will support them and keep them healthy for longer.