One of the saddest aspects of life as a dog owner is that dogs age so much more rapidly than humans. In fact, if your dog is between the ages of five and ten they may already be considered a senior, depending on their age and breed. Older dogs can still have fun, healthy, comfortable lives, but they do require a little more attention from their owners and their veterinarian. Here are three health and wellness tips for your senior dog:
Be Mindful of Potential Joint Pain
Joint pain and arthritis are very common in older dogs, and it may not always be obvious when they are experiencing this pain. Glucosamine supplements for dogs, often in the form of tasty treats, are a great way to keep their joints well-lubricated and healthy. Upgrading your dog's bed to one made with plush memory foam is also a great idea to provide your dog with a comfortable place to sleep that won't exacerbate joint issues. Finally, keep your dog at a healthy weight since excess pounds can put too much strain on older joints and muscles.
Have More Frequent Vet Checkups
Many veterinarians suggest more frequent checkups when your dog is older, for example having you come in twice a year instead of once. This will ensure that if your aging dog has any health issues your vet will have a chance to catch it and begin treatment as early as possible. Your vet may also want to perform more thorough and detailed exams for your older dog, possibly including blood work and x-rays to make sure your dog doesn't have diabetes, liver or kidney problems, or other issues.
Don't Neglect Their Exercise
Some dog owners think that once a dog is older they no longer need daily exercise, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Taking your dog on daily walks keeps them at a healthy weight, helps give them more energy, and keeps them happy and content. Fresh air and exercise are good for dogs at any age, just like people. Just keep in mind that your older dog is probably slowing down a bit and may prefer a laid-back walk to the rigorous hikes and runs you took him on when he was a younger pup.
Practicing good preventative care for your older dog and following these tips will keep your dog healthy and happy well into their older years. Contact a vet office like Metzger Animal Hospital for more information and assistance.