Taking The Physiological Changes Of Aging Dogs Into ConsiderationAt Natural Bridge Animal Hospital, we love providing senior dogs with the care and support they need to age gracefully and comfortably. We understand that the experience of caring for older dogs can be a tremendously rewarding one that enhances and enriches the lives of dogs themselves, as well as their human caretakers. We truly are dog people at heart. We love to lend insight and guidance into caring for older dogs.
It is important to remember that many physiological changes occur during the aging process your canine companion is experiencing. These include:
- Reduced hearing
- Changes in eyesight
- Arthritis and muscle mass loss
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Cardiac and kidney disease
- And more
Schedule Regular Veterinarian Visits For Senior DogsBecause many of these conditions will develop gradually, it can be difficult for an owner to notice the changes occurring. During the Senior wellness exam, our doctors and staff will ask you questions that specifically target medical issues common to senior dogs. Working together with you, we will develop a great plan to ensure optimal health for your dog.
It is important to remember that the aging process is accelerated in dogs. Therefore, we recommend seeing all senior dogs at least twice a year.
Senior dog care visits provide an opportunity to discuss the well-being of your canine companion as he or she ages. This includes:
- Daily schedule
- Sleep patterns
- Family interactions
- Exercise and changes in movement
- Weight and Body Condition
- Skin and Coat Quality
- Mouth, Gums and Teeth
- Ears and Eyes
- Thyroid Gland
- Heart and Circulatory System
- Lungs and Nose
- Joints and Muscles
- Any condition changes since the last visit
Making Good Food Choices For Senior DogsCanine nutrition is extremely important throughout the entirety of a dog's life. However, making sound senior dog food choices is an especially important facet of senior dog care. Because of decreased physical activity and slowed metabolism, aging dogs may need 20% fewer total calories than middle-aged adult dogs. However, some older dogs may not be able to assimilate proteins as well and may require additions in protein or change in the type of protein. Generally, aging dogs tend to gain weight, and as they do, senior dogs become at risk for possible health complications that did not plague them in adolescence.
- For example, it may take obese dogs longer for their blood glucose concentrations to return to normal. This disrupted carbohydrate metabolism can lead to diabetes.
Dental Care For Senior DogsDental disease is especially common in senior dogs because it progresses gradually and can easily go unnoticed. Senior dogs simply adapt to living with discomfort. However, adapting to discomfort doesn't mean that they are not in pain. Just as in humans, dental issues can be very painful for dogs. Unfortunately for your dog, they are not able to express themselves to you in a way that will help you understand.
It is our goal to diagnose and treat all dental disease in senior pets and allow them to live comfortably in their senior years. Some senior pets will have other illnesses that will affect the recommended course of treatment. Therefore, we will work together with you to determine the safest and best outcome for your dog.
How Much Exercise Should A Senior Dog Get?Although your senior dog cannot jump as high or run as fast as he or she could in their prime, exercise is still an essential component of any senior dog care regimen. Dogs tend to age better both physically and mentally when daily exercise, such as a short walk is a part of their routine. However, an important rule of thumb is to keep their exercise both regular and moderate. Keep up with daily or every other day walks and limit the duration according to the dog's level of fitness and fatigue. Just as in humans, exercise can also:
- Help maintain a healthy body weight
- Slow the progression of old-age arthritis
- Stimulate cognitive capacity
- Heighten motor skills and coordination faculties
Vaccines For Senior DogsIn general, senior dogs tolerate vaccinations the same as younger dogs. Nonetheless, we evaluate each dog individually when deciding upon a vaccine protocol. Because vaccination schedules are unique to every dog, we recommend discussing vaccinations with your veterinarian to choose the options that are right for your elderly canine companion.
Controlling Parasites In Senior DogsSenior pets are as vulnerable to parasites as younger dogs and in some cases even more so. Unfortunately, they may not be able to groom and care for themselves as well as they once could and therefore may not show clear signs of distress when infected by fleas and ticks. Therefore, it is very important to maintain consistency with flea/tick and intestinal parasite control programs for aging dogs. Your veterinarian can help determine if any changes should be made to an existing senior dog care parasite control program, as well as if a program should be implemented or terminated altogether.
Schedule A Wellness Checkup For Your Senior Dog Today!As a dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic team of dog people, we love seeing wagging tails, feeling cold noses and hearing about how our senior dog services have bettered the lives of our elderly canine patients. Our canine veterinary staff loves caring for older dogs and pledges a commitment to the health, wellness and happiness of your elderly canine companion. We have been here for many aging dogs and their owners over the years, and we will be here for you and yours each and every step of the way.
Content taken from the amazing website of Prestige Animal Hospital