Senior dogs, as with senior humans, require more specialized care than younger dogs. Dogs have a much shorter lifespan than humans do so it is important to routinely monitor any changes in health or behaviour as the dog ages.
When does a dog become a senior?
This is a tricky question because it’s not the same age for all dogs. Generally, the larger the dog, the shorter the lifespan so big dogs are considered seniors at a much younger age than tiny dogs. For example, an Irish Wolfhound would be considered a senior dog around 5-6 years of age, whereas a Maltese would only be considered a senior around 8-9 years of age.
What are common senior dog health issues?
Senior dogs have many health issues so veterinary exams should be done routinely. Arthritis is very common in senior dogs and can lead to obesity because the dog finds it too difficult to be as active. Dental disease is very common in senior dogs and can lead to more serious illness involving the heart and kidneys. It is always best to prevent problems than it is to treat problems! That’s why it is so important to maintain a healthy weight in your pet and brush your dog’s teeth every day.
How should I care for my senior dog?
Nutrition is critical for senior dogs. You should be sure to feed a good quality food designed for senior or mature dogs. Twice yearly examinations are an excellent method to monitor health. Bloodwork to check the internal workings in your beloved pet should be done at least once a year. Our veterinarians can also make suggestions for supplements that will benefit your pet’s specific needs, such as Glucosamine.