Thanks to the advances of modern medical technology, people and their pets are living longer, healthier lives. As your dog ages, you will need to make some changes in how you care for them in order to ensure that they are healthy and happy.
According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, dog owners should: “Talk to your veterinarian about how to care for your older pet and be prepared for possible age-related health issues. Senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment.” You can make changes as your dog ages that can help them live a long, healthy life.
Age Is Relative
In general, dogs are considered seniors around age seven, although larger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs. One important thing to keep in mind is that being of advanced age isn’t an ailment. Your pet can be in wonderful health and have many happy, healthy years ahead of them, even after they are medically considered geriatric. This categorization is primarily helpful when it comes to making adjustments to your dog’s care.
Screen For Health Problems
Just like people, dogs are more likely to develop health problems as they age. Some of the ailments that you will want to look out for are cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease. The best way to combat these problems in elderly pets is to regularly take them to the veterinarian and pay close attention to any changes in their behavior as they may be signs that your pet isn’t feeling well. Once your dog is considered geriatric, it is advised to bring them in for a wellness checkup twice a year.
Adjust Their Diet
As your dog ages, you will need to adjust their diet. According to AMVA, “Geriatric pets often need foods that are more readily digested, and have different calorie levels and ingredients, and anti-aging nutrients.” You will also want to carefully monitor your dog’s weight as older dogs will often gain weight as they become less active which can cause potential health risks such as diabetes and put stress on their joints.
Changes To Their Environment
As your pet ages, you may need to make adjustments to their living environment. If your dog begins to develop arthritis or other issues related to their mobility, you may want to move their bed, food, and toys all to the same level of your home so they are not forced to climb stairs. If you allow your pets on furniture, you may want to provide them with a stool or a step so they can climb up instead of jumping from the floor. If your pet develops vision or even memory problems, it can be helpful to avoid or limit major changes to your home’s layout so they don’t get “lost.”
Talk To Your Veterinarian
The best way to help your dog enjoy their golden years is to talk with your veterinarian about their health. Your veterinarian can help you come up with an individualized care plan for your dog and can help you come up with a schedule for regular checkups based on your dog’s existing health. To set up an appointment and get more information, you can contact the Bregman Veterinary Group today to get started!