Senior Dog Health Tips

A senior dog will suffer a few changes and will also be more prone to certain diseases. Slower movements, white hair, joint pain or reduced appetite are just a few signs that your dog is getting older. There are also a few age specific diseases that you need to be aware of and try to prevent these or recognize the symptoms so that you can get veterinary help in a timely manner.

Old Age Canine Diseases

A dog is considered senior after the age of 7 or 8, however giant canine breeds are considered senior starting from the age of 5.

The diseases that affect mostly older dogs include:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Dental and gum diseases, signaled by bad breath, lack of appetite, swollen gums, abscessed teeth
  • Kidney problems indicated by a change in the urination frequency, increased thirst
  • Impaired hearing or vision

These problems may not be prevented, as they come along with old age, but recognizing these and applying early treatment can improve your pet’s life quality.

Detect Possible Diseases

You should detect the old age diseases as early as possible.

Perform a skin check on a regular basis as you may identify lumps or tumors. At the same time you may identify if your pet is affected by arthritis; this condition causes a lot of pain and the dog may retract his limbs when touched.

You should also check the dog’s mouth and see if your can find any dental problems.

Monitor your dog’s urination schedule and the amount of urine produced, as these may help in detecting a kidney problem.

Test your dog’s hearing and vision by clapping your hands and watching if the dog reacts.

Consult your vet for any symptoms that may be alarming.

Special Dog Diet for Seniors

The diet of a senior dog should be changed. First of all, the dog will require fewer nutrients, as he will be less active. However, a senior dog will require more vitamins and minerals to support his immune system and help him fight off infections and diseases. Antioxidants are also important for the dog’s brain activity and nervous system.

Typically, older dogs will require wet food, as this is easier to digest and may also take some stress off the kidneys.

Your vet may also recommend you special food that will be adapted to your dog’s health condition.

Keep Your Dog Warm

As dogs get older, their capacity to maintain a normal body temperature decreases, so you should make sure your dog is warm. Warm up the dog’s room or add some blankets, so that your senior dog is comfortable.

More Frequent Vet Visits

A younger dog requires 1 or 2 vet visits per year. Senior dogs should get a routine checkup at least once every 3 months, so that the vet can detect possible problems in a timely manner.