Senior Dog Care Tips
If your pet is getting a little gray around the muzzle, she is most likely becoming a senior. According to The American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), pets become seniors between 7 and 10 years of age. While it might be difficult to accept that your beloved pet is aging, it is important to take a few extra steps to ensure she is healthy and happy in her older years. Just by following a few simple tips, you can help care for a senior dog.
1. Visit the Veterinarian Twice Annually: As your dog ages, you need to visit the veterinarian more often to check for illnesses. Make sure the veterinarian checks your pet’s vital signs, heart, lungs and look at your dog’s skin, ears and teeth. Some veterinarians may recommend screenings to ensure your dog isn’t suffering from diseases that often ail older pets.
2. Watch for Diseases that Affect Older Pets: Many older dogs, like older people, can suffer from a variety of health issues. Check for diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and dementia.
3. Consider Your Pet’s Diet: As your pet ages, her diet may need to change. As her metabolism slows, look into senior diets that are lower in fat and easily digestible. Remember to check with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s food.
4. Regulate Body Temperature: Older dogs are more sensitive to heat, so keep them inside on extremely hot days. Senior dogs are also more likely to experience heat stroke, so don’t exercise with them on especially hot or humid days.
5. Install Ramps: As dogs age, they may develop arthritis. Installing ramps in and out of your house and onto beds and couches can make them more comfortable when climbing. Look into orthopedic beds that may make them more comfortable.
6. Brush Those Teeth: Your pet’s dental care is always important, but it becomes even more vital as your pet ages. Excessive plaque can lead to a variety of ailments, so brush your dog’s teeth with pet toothpaste and check with your veterinarian to see if your dog needs a professional cleaning.
7. Know Your Emergency Vets: Keep both your regular veterinarian and local emergency veterinarian’s phone numbers and addresses handy. In case of emergency, you need to know who can help care for your beloved pet.
If your dog suffers lumps, skin or coat issues, incontinence, diarrhea, shortness of breath, weakness, appetite changes, excessive urination or excessive water intake, visit your veterinarian immediately. For more information about caring for your senior pet, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association or The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Old Dog House is Northeast Florida’s first nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to giving older and senior dogs a second chance at a new life. At so many shelters, the age of a dog determines its chances of reaching the adoption floor to find a new forever home. As a result, many wonderful dogs are denied the ability to live out their lives in dignity, surrounded by love. The Old Dog House aims to enlighten the public to the joys of owning an older or senior dog through educational programs and to place rescued dogs into true forever homes through adoption programs. The dogs that come into the care of The Old Dog House will remain in our care until adopted. We rely solely on donations from the public to support our organization. 100% of donations received are used for the care and rehabilitation of the dogs at The Old Dog House. Every penny makes a difference and is greatly appreciated.