Frequently Asked Senior Dog Health Questions

Senior dog health is a concern that most dog owners will have when their dog reaches a senior stage. Caring for puppies and young adult dogs is important; however you must remember that your dog's needs will change as he ages. Providing support and attention for those needs is crucial to maintaining a healthy life when your dog becomes of senior age.

Senior Dog Age

One of the questions on your mind probably relates to when your dog actually becomes of senior dog age. The aging process is one that occurs over a period of years and each dog may start to feel the effects of old age at a different time in life. There is no scientific approach to determining when a dog reaches senior status.

Senior dog age is more of an average number in which most dogs start to experience the effects of old age and when their needs begin to change. For most dogs, this change in status occurs when they reach one third of their estimated life expectancy. This means that what is considered normal senior age can be different for every breed.

Exercising Your Senior Dog

It is a common misconception that senior dogs should no longer be exercised. While it is true that they should not be exercised as strenuously as a younger dog, especially if they have conditions which prohibit it; but it is certainly false that they should not be exercised at all.

Exercise is important for older dogs because it keeps the blood flowing smoothly. When your dog exercises, his heart rate increases, blood flows through the body and his heart muscled is strengthened. These attributes are too important to be erased entirely from a daily exercise routine.

Exercise also helps to keep your dog's muscle intact and able. Without exercise, the muscles can become limp and weak, which makes it more difficult for your dog to walk around as he ages. Exercising can also help to keep your dog lean and healthy so that weight gain does not become a problem in his senior years.

Feeding Your Senior Dog

As your dog ages, his metabolism will naturally begin to slow down. You will also find that he will want to sleep more often. The more your dog wants to sleep, the less he wants to exercise. While maintaining healthy exercising habits is important, you have to account for your dog’s slower metabolism by changing his eating habits.

Theoretically, this means that your dog needs to be on a senior diet; such as a food that is specifically generated for senior dogs. Because your dog is naturally less active, you need to find a food that is lower in calories and fat and higher in protein.

Not only does the food that you feed your dog need to change, but you also need to change the frequency at which you feed him. If your dog is not as active as he once was, there is no need to feed him a heavy amount of food several times each day. You will need to decrease the amount of food that you feed and try feeding him only twice per day.