Is your dog entering his senior years? Fido’s golden years are a very special time. Your faithful friend will start to slow down, and won’t have as much energy as he once did, but he’ll still be the same loving and adorable pet as always. A local San Antonio, TX vet discusses a few key aspects of caring for an aging dog in this article.
Our canine friends don’t all age at the same rate. Large breed dogs age the fastest, with some giant breeds entering their golden years as early as age five. Medium-sized dogs become seniors around age 7, while toy breeds may not enter their senior years until they are about 9.
As Fido ages, he may sleep a bit more. You may notice that his fur becomes thinner, and perhaps turns grey in certain areas, like around the muzzle. Your canine buddy may also begin to experience a loss of hearing and vision. Bone and joint issues, such as arthritis, are not uncommon in older dogs, and can make your furry friend stiff and sore.
Aging dogs need more frequent vet visits, so they can be monitored for signs of developing health issues, such as kidney or liver disease, cancer, and arthritis. Generally, older dogs should see the vet about twice a year. Ask your vet to recommend a specific appointment schedule. In between visits, keep a close eye on your pooch for signs of illness. If you notice anything wrong, call your vet immediately.
A proper diet is crucial to Fido’s health. Ask your vet for recommendations on when it’s time to change to a senior formula pet food. Supplements may also be beneficial. Fish oil, for instance, helps lubricate bones and joints, and can be helpful for pets with arthritis or hip dysplasia.
We recommend getting a good orthopedic doggy bed, so your canine pal can sleep comfortably. Fido may also find it easier to eat from elevated dishes, as these don’t strain his neck. If your dog develops mobility issues, consider getting pet ramps or stairs to help him get around more easily. Most of all, just do what you can to make sure your pet feels comfortable and loved.
Do you have questions about senior dog care? We can help! Call us, your San Antonio, TX veterinary hospital, anytime.