Caring for the Older Good Dog

Health

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Today I want to share some advice for those with an older good dog companion. A dog’s size makes a difference as to when the dog is old. Larger size dogs have a shorter life span than a smaller dog. But most vets would say a senior dog is anywhere from 7 to 10 years old depending on the breed. That doesn’t mean your dog has one foot in the grave. My late furriend Mickey Man Moo lived to be 18 and he was a big boy.

Just as with people, regular health checkups become increasingly important as dogs grow older. Many vets feel that senior dogs should be seen at least once every six months. During these checkups, vets typically check a dog’s body for tumors, signs of pain, or arthritis. In addition, your vet will assess your dog’s overall appearance & body condition, checking eyes, ears, nose, & mouth for irregularities as well as listening to his lungs & heart. A routine checkup may also include the following tests.

  • Blood pressure
  • CBC (complete blood count)
  • CHEM screen (liver and kidney function)
  • Urinalysis
  • Thyroid function testing
  • Heart worm blood test
  • Fecal test

These tests allow your vet to monitor any changes in your dog’s health as it grows older. Additional testing may be necessary if your dog develops any ongoing health issues, or if these tests uncover any unusual results.

What you can do is be aware of any changes in your good dog such as weight loss, lethargy, or even bad breath. These can be signs of a health issue. Adjust the diet as needed. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs than younger dogs. Make sure to keep your good dog’s teeth in good shape.

Older dogs can’t regulate their body temperature as well as they could in their younger days. It is important to keep your dog warm, dry, & indoors when she or he’s not out getting exercise. Senior canines are also more sensitive to heat & humidity, so protect them from conditions in which they may overheat.

If your dog has arthritis, it may prefer a ramp instead of walking up the stairs, extra blankets on it’s bed, or even a new bed designed to promote orthopedic health. If your dog suffers from vision loss, it’s a good idea to ease his anxiety by keeping floors clear of clutter. Most important, give them love.

Here is a more in depth article about caring for your senior good dog.
CEO Olivia

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