How do you know when your dog is considered a senior? This is important to know as senior pets tend to have different care requirements than younger pets. Usually, larger breed dog’s age quicker, and are considered a senior sooner; around age 5 or 6. Smaller breeds wouldn’t be considered a senior until closer to 10 or 11. Of course, genetics, nutrition, and environments also play a role in how quickly your pet ages, not just their breed or size. Your dog can’t talk; they rely on you to watch for cues.
What are some things to watch out for as your dog ages?
• Arthritis is a very common disease amongst pets, which may cause them to slow down.
• Dental disease is also very common, as most pet parents don’t know the importance of dental care earlier on in their pets’ lives. Dental disease can be painful and cause difficulty eating.
• As we all do, when dog’s age, they start to slow down. They may become what you call a “couch potato”, which usually results in obesity. Obesity is an issue with dogs of all ages.
What can you do to help?
• Schedule annual exams with your veterinarian, ask for body score conditioning each visit and consider running blood tests as well. It may be pricey, but it’s cheaper than the treatment if they’re sick. With proper annual care, you will be able to catch it sooner rather than later.
• Feed your dog a good quality food, appropriate for your dog’s age and lifestyle. Also, ask your Veterinarian about different supplements that may be beneficial for joint care.
• Try your best to keep up with your pet’s dental hygiene, but we understand some pets may not like that so you can try Dental treats and foods, and even some toys that can help reduce tartar build up.
• Exercise can also be a big help for senior pets, as it keeps them lean and helps to maintain muscle and joints.
• Providing special accommodations help in certain circumstances. This can include having ramps instead of stairs, soft bedding, or even just laying out carpets or rugs instead of your pet laying on a hardwood floor.
Written by: Nat Simpksins, Client Care Representative