Senior dogs make great pets, but they also come with a few unique challenges. Whether you’ve owned your senior pooch since puppyhood or are bringing a new rescue dog into your home, here are some things to start paying extra attention to if your dog is more than 7 years old.
Work With a Good Veterinarian
Older dogs may develop treatable problems, including arthritis or hearing and vision problems. Find a vet you trust, and consult her if you notice changes in your dog.
Know the Challenges
Learn about the signs and symptoms of common ailments that older dogs face, since early intervention can minimize the harm and keep your dog comfortable. Your veterinarian is a good starting point for this research.
Practice Preventative Care
Small problems can have big effects on older dogs. Use a preventative treatments to keep heartworms, fleas and ticks away from your dog, and keep her and her environment healthy with regular grooming and cleaning.
Consider Reduced Vaccinations
Vaccinations are important, but older dogs may be more at risk for adverse reactions. Talk to your vet about only vaccinating every three years, which reflects updated national guidelines.
Keep Those Chompers Healthy
Older dogs are more likely to develop dental problems, so have your vet check his teeth regularly and perform necessary cleanings. Keep up that dental hygiene at home by brushing your dog’s teeth.
Feed an Appropriate Diet
Senior dogs have special dietary needs, and obesity can cause serious health problems. Don’t overfeed your dog, and choose a diet that is easy to digest and has appropriate nutrition. Consider supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.
Make Your Home Comfortable for Your Dog
Older dogs sometimes have more trouble with mobility. Putting down rugs over slippery hard floors can help them move more comfortably, and orthopedic beds may ease stiffness. Portable stairs and ramps can help them get into vehicles or onto furniture.
Keep Your Dog Active and Engaged
Even though your dog may slow down a bit as she ages, make sure you still involve her in your life. Exercise is important to keep her healthy and fit, and even old dogs love to learn. Trick training can be a great way to entertain a dog with limited mobility.
Enjoy Your Dog’s Golden Years
With just a little extra care, senior dogs can remain active and healthy for years. Learn more about why senior dogs make such great pets.
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