Dogs age much like humans, except they age at an accelerated rate. Depending on the breed of your dog and the dog’s weight, they could be considered a senior dog after just five years of life. Senior dogs tend to have a difficult time moving around; their metabolism slows down and they may have less energy throughout the day and they are more susceptible to disease and illness. With proper care, your dog could live up to 15 years old or more.
Below are tips for making sure your senior dog receives the best care possible, so he can stay by your side as long as possible.
- Visit the Veterinarian
Regular visits to the vet are good habits to develop from the time your dog is a puppy. Just as humans have checkups, your dog should see his vet at least once a year, preferably once every six months once your dog is considered a senior dog. This will help catch a number of possible growing concerns as your dog ages and is a great way to practice prevention with your dog’s health.
- Maintain Healthy Weight
As your dog ages, his appetite may also decrease or in some instance, his appetite may stay the same, but his energy level has clearly decreased. If this is the case, you need to be very careful when feeding your dog – making sure only the allotted amount of food recommended by your vet is given. An overweight dog has less energy and becomes susceptible to more disease and illness.
- Maintain Oral Care
Just like with humans, periodontal health is a key factor in overall health. Make sure your dog has the adequate treats and/or toys what help clean and polish his teeth and gums. Or if you are inspired, try brushing your dog’s teeth to keep his mouth and health in tip-top shape!
- Adequate Exercise
Even if it becomes difficult for your dog to get around, exercise is still important. Just like the phrase, “move it, or lose it” exercising should start as a puppy and continue well into the end of their life. Dogs simply need the activity to help keep their heart and joints functioning to the best of their abilities. If your dog has a hard time moving, maybe try swimming in a lake or pool for less stress on their joints.
Ensure your vet is vaccinating our dog at least every three years, to ensure they are as healthy as they can be. On this note, it is also a good idea for you to become aware of warning signs and symptoms of dog-health related incidents.
By following these tips, you can help your dog live a longer, better-quality life as your dog enters his “golden years”. There’s nothing quite like the bond between man and his dog. It’s up to you as the pet owner to ensure your beloved pup is healthy and with you as long as he can be.
Article authored by Dr. Susan Wright, staff expert on dog containment systems for Dog Fence DIY. Susan is a practicing veterinarian with more than 10 years experience and often writes on the proper care of domestic pets.
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