Medi Special – Senior Dog Health
Today, in our new Medi-Special, we take a look at the importance of Senior Dog Health. Now that your beloved pooch is entering their golden oldies phase, there are things you might need to consider, like their quality of life as they begin to show signs of old age.
Dogs are masters at masking their discomfort, and it’s no wonder many pet owners are shocked at how suddenly their pet seems to age. It all seems to happen overnight. We tend to miss the subtle greying of the muzzle or the longer sleeping periods. Most pet owners are only faced with the reality of their pet’s age when arthritis or an obvious decrease of activity sets in. So it is a good idea to have your older dog checked over by a professional regularly. Many vets now offer senior dog programs, so your ageing pet can be kept in the best of health as they age.
A dog is considered ‘senior’ when they start to reach the age of eight. This can of course be different for larger breeds as they usually age prematurely. The difference in ageing between a Great Dane and a Jack Russell at the age of eight can be drastic. So, keeping in mind that all dogs age differently, what are the common signs that your pet is heading towards old age?
- Greying around the eyes and muzzle
- Increase in sleeping
- Decrease in activity
- Reluctance to jump or be involved in strenuous activity
- Stiffer during colder weather
- Stiff after long periods of sleep
- Problems with sight or hearing
Older pets will require a senior dog health check. These checks will give your ageing pet the tick of approval when it comes to their overall health, to ensure their older years are pain free and comfortable.
Overweight pets may be put on a special diet, as obesity is not good for ageing joints and can increase your dog’s risk of developing osteoarthrosis. It is also important to monitor your ageing pet’s dental care. The teeth and gums are the gateway to the bloodstream, so keeping your pet’s teeth in good care will keep your pet’s system in good care.
Arthritis is now an easily managed condition, and a pain management program can really add new life into old joints. Speaking to your vet and ensuring that you choose the correct program for your pet is paramount in controlling your pet’s quality of life.
Monitoring your dog’s eye health is also important. Clouding and discharge needs veterinary treatment. If your pet is losing their eyesight, try and resist moving furniture around and keep their routine consistent.
Big PLUS for ageing dog:
- Bedding – consider good supportive bedding that is easy to get in and out of.
- Ramps – for the boot of cars and to replace steps.
- Coats – older dogs will feel the cold more than younger pets, so consider using a coat in the cooler months.
- Groom Groom Groom! – grooming will help ease old joints and will allow you to monitor any lumps and bumps. Dogs also love the odd massage!
- Exercise – think gentle walking and swimming. Keeping older dogs active is important just don’t over-do-it.
- Quiet Time – have a nice quiet area for your ageing pet. So they can escape the craziness of the household, which is particularly important in busy households.