Caring for your Senior Dog
Taking care of your best friend in the long term
Dogs are considered senior at around 7 years old, depending on their breed. In some ways it can seem like the puppy days were just yesterday, and whilst older dogs don’t need constant attention, there a few ways in which we can care for them as they age.
Looking for changes over time
As you spend every day with them, you know your dog well. As they get older you will see changes in them, and it is important to make sure that you get them checked out by your Best Friends Vet when things change.
As dogs age their joints might become stiff, they can get arthritis, and you will be able to see this change in the way they walk. You might also notice they have trouble getting up onto the sofa, or in and out of the car.
They might be less able or keen to exercise, which can be an indicator of heart disease.
If you see any changes like this, a visit to your Best Friends Vet is essential so they can assess them.
Eyesight and Hearing
You might start to notice that your dog isn’t as responsive as they once were. This could mean that their hearing and eyesight is starting to get worse.
Are they as alert as they once were? Do they respond when you call their name? Whilst they might not come running like they once did, if they aren’t even pricking up their ears this could be a sign that they are having trouble hearing you.
If you think they might be having trouble with their eyesight you can always move their favourite toy or their food bowl a little to see if they notice and are able to find it in the new place.
Whilst weight is important to keep an eye on at any stage of a dog’s life, it can really make a difference with senior dogs. Overweight dogs will have more stress on their joints, which could lead to joint problems.
Having a dog that is underweight can also be an issue or highlight a more hidden health problem. Dogs might lose appetite if something is wrong with them, or if food isn’t being digested as well as it once was. They might not be getting the nutrients they need from what they eat.
As well as food, it is a good idea to keep an eye on how much they are drinking. Drinking more can be a sign of kidney problems and should be mentioned to your Vet.
Speak to your Best Friends Vet about what a healthy weight looks like for your dog. They can also advise you about any special dietary needs your senior dog might have, including recommending a good food for senior dogs.
Contact your nearest Best Friends Branch for more advice and to book a health check for your senior dog.
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