There isn’t a one-size-fits all rule for when a dog is considered “old.” Large-breed dogs might be thought of as a senior when they’re about seven or eight, while a small-breed dog is only elderly at the age of 13 or so. But no matter the kind of dog you have, it’s important to care for them properly when they reach old age. Learn how below from a Raleigh, NC veterinarian.
Your dog’s nutritional needs aren’t the same now as they were when they were a puppy. Make sure their diet reflects that. If your older dog isn’t already eating a senior-formulated diet, he or she should be. Call your vet’s office to get a recommendation on a great food choice that works for your dog’s size and breed.
You don’t want to let your older dog become sedentary and lie around the house all day. That’s not good for their physical health, or their mental well-being—dogs need to receive regular stimulation and activity, or they might start to act out in undesirable ways. Ask your vet about the best light exercise methods for your aging pooch, and try to get in some physical activity on a daily basis.
It’s easy to overlook dental care, but dental health problems can affect dogs of any age, your senior companion included. Keep up with regular tooth brushing sessions—you’ll need a pet toothbrush and a toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Also, make sure your older pet has plenty of chew toys, and try out dental sticks or dental chews for an added boost in the oral health department.
Just because your dog is older doesn’t mean you can forgo preventative healthcare. Make sure Fido is wearing year-round preventative medications to ward away fleas, ticks, and worms. Keep them updated with essential vaccinations against diseases like parvovirus, distemper, and hepatitis. Talk to your vet right away if your pet needs these preventative measures.
Last but not least, make sure you schedule regular appointments at your vet’s office to have your senior dog examined. That way, your vet can keep track of your dog’s health over time, and recognize quickly when something is amiss.
Need to set up an appointment for your senior canine companion? Call your Raleigh, NC vet clinic today—there’s no time to waste!