For most of us, a dog is part of the family and can go to any extent to ensure their well-being. Just like puppies, senior dogs need special care. While age may cause difficulties in walking, sore joints, irritability, vulnerability to diseases, dementia, and other conditions, there are still steps any owner can take to comfort an aging pet.
Prepare A Nutritious Diet
Without a doubt, proper nutrition is essential for dogs of all stages. However, a senior dog will need a nutritious diet to keep him healthy and active. Age renders a dog less active, and the caloric needs drop. As such, you have to cut on the caloric portions and focus more on a well-balanced diet. Also, you can enrich your dog’s food with fatty acids, omega 3 and other supplements.
Dogs with certain conditions will also require special diets. For instance, a dog diagnosed with heart disease will need a diet with no or low sodium levels. If your dog has kidney disease, go for foods that help to keep calcium and phosphorus levels in check.
Our veterinarians have substantial education in nutrition. They are skilled to counsel you in diets from all life stages, from puppy/kitten to the Senior years and everything in between. Be sure to ask about our Nutritional Counseling.
Arrange For Frequent Walks
Age makes a dog less mobile posing the risk of arthritis, weight gain, and other conditions associated with inactivity. The solution to the problem is to walk your dog regularly to keep him active and prevent illnesses. Due to age, short walks around the block may be sufficient exercise.
Frequent Checkups By Your Veterinarian
Experts recommend that you have senior dogs checked by a vet at least once every six months. That way, any illness can be diagnosed early and treated if possible. Hearing problems are likely to arise with age and are not treatable. A veterinary can correct the hearing loss if they result from ear-canal inflammation or discharge. In the same vein, loss of vision may be a result of the age whereby the lens is unaffected or cataracts. Your vet should tell the difference.
Observe Oral Hygiene
Dental care for your dog is critical for preventing gum disease that leads to aching and falling of teeth. A veterinary will advise on the best way to clean your dog. You can consider buying a toothbrush designed for dogs, to make oral hygiene a routine. Also, get some chewing toys, water additives to reduce plaque.
Keep Infectious And Parasitic Diseases Afar
Parasites including fleas, heartworms, and ticks will the advantage of your dog’s inactivity and attack severely. As such, the routine for vaccinations may need to change. Approach your vet for advice on the best vaccinations and the administration intervals for the best results.
Schedule Regular Grooming
As hinted above, a senior dog will become less active and may tend to adopt a sedentary life. While sitting and sleeping all day, you’re likely to discover the matting of hair and long nails. Regular grooming allows for the growth of new hair and skin while simultaneously allowing for inspections.
At Hunt Valley Animal Hospital we are dedicated to offering quality veterinary care to your pets. Our compassionate approach has set us apart from the competition; call us today at 410-527-0800 or schedule an appointment here.