Did you know…
If your dog is over the age of seven, then they are considered a senior dog. On average, dogs age seven times faster than humans, meaning by the time your canine companion is nine years old, their organs, joints, and metabolism are comparative to a 63-year-old human. That’s almost retirement age!
Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to help your pet age comfortably and gracefully.
Health concerns to be aware of as your pet gets older
Just like us, as pets get older, they can develop certain health conditions. Some of these can include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Liver disease
- Adrenal diseases
- Eye cataracts
- Joint or mobility issues
- Weight gain
- Teeth issues
Greencross Vets recommends that healthy older dogs be examined by a veterinarian at least twice a year. This can help your vet detect any potential health issues in the early stages. Dog ages 7 times faster than humans, which is a significant amount of time for health problems to progress. You know your pet best. If you have noticed any changes in their behaviour or health please mention this to your vet, even if it seems insignificant. If you have any questions, please chat to your local Greencross Vet today.
Signs to look out for
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Lethargic behaviour – reluctance to move around
- Reluctance to jump on beds or lounges or into the car
- Changes to their skin or coat e.g. lumps or bumps
- Significant increase or decrease to their weight
- Difficulty keeping up on walks / slowing down
- Growling when touched or patted / grumpy behaviour
- Exercise intolerance or coughing after walks
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in their behaviour such as barking “without reason”
If you notice any of these signs or if you are concerned about your pet’s health, book a health check-up today.
In addition to regular health checks, there are many things you can do at home to help ensure your pet’s comfort and wellbeing.
Health care tips for your senior dogs
Care at home
Making small adjustments to your pet’s home environment can assist them as they start to show signs of ageing. Things to consider when living with a senior pet could include:
- Providing easy access to food and water by raising the bowl
- Keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter
- Comfortable supportive bedding that’s easy to get in and out of
- Monitoring their health and visiting your Greencross vet as soon as you notice any changes in their behaviour
- Shorter walks – more often
Just as we give special attention to the nutritional needs of puppies and kittens, dogs and cats in their golden years require a complete and balanced, premium quality senior pet food to meet their nutritional needs as they age. Once our pets celebrate their seventh birthday, it is recommended they be transitioned to a premium senior pet food. These special foods meet their changing nutritional requirements, gifting them with longevity and wellness into their senior years. Many senior diets have ingredients to support joint health and mobility, lower sodium to support kidney health and omega 3s to ensure a healthy skin and coat. Chat to your local Greencross Vets for advice on choosing the right diet for your pet.
One of the easiest ways to care for your dog’s teeth is to provide a varied diet that promotes chewing and gentle abrasion on the teeth. There are dry foods available that are especially formulated for oral hygiene. Of course, the best thing to ensure your dog’s teeth are clean is daily brushing and regular health check-ups. If you’ve ever had a toothache you understand how painful a sore tooth can be! If your dog avoids eating kibble or seems a bit off their food, they may have dental pain. Chat to your vet today to learn more.
Frequent health check-ups
Taking your dog to the vet for regular check-ups will help to detect problems earlier, resulting in a happier and healthier canine friend.
Some of the areas your Greencross Vets will monitor in your senior dog’s examination:
- Joints and arthritis
- Eyes and ears
- Teeth and gums
- Skin and coat, check for lumps or bumps
- Urine and faeces
- Heart health and blood pressure
- Weight and body condition score