How to Care for Your Senior Dog

How to Care for Your Senior Dog

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 16:01

With age comes wisdom. This may be more true for aging dogs as it is humans. 

Your senior dog may always be a puppy in your eyes, but it is important that your care reflects their age and wisdom. They will need special attention and service during this phase of their lives. 

The team at Avery Creek Pet Hospital knows this is a special season of you and your family's life. We want to help you provide the best care possible for your senior dog. 

 

Monitor Your Senior Dog

Your aging canine family member is going to be experiencing some changes as they age. It is vital to pay close attention to those changes. 

You want to monitor whether they could be in pain or experiencing discomfort. Any changes could be indicative of sickness or an unhealthy condition. Document your observations and make sure you share them with your veterinarian. 

Look for Signs Your Senior Dog Is in Pain

You want your senior dog to be as comfortable as possible. You need to look for signs of pain in your aging puppy:

  • Your dog isn't walking or running as quickly as they once did.
  • Your dog's appetite has suddenly changed.
  • Your dog is no longer able to leap into a car.
  • Your dog is not wagging their tails as much as they typically do.
  • Your dog has a limp or is sitting in an odd stance.
  • Your dog is more vocal than usual.
  • Your dog has grown more erratic and prone to snapping or snarling.

As your dog ages, pain is not necessarily inevitable. If your furry friend is experiencing pain or difficulty with mobility, your veterinarian may be able to provide some relief. 

Take Care of Your Senior Dog's Teeth

The health of a dog's teeth is vital to its survival and comfort. Without healthy teeth, eating can be a chore. 

Canine veterinarians may use anesthesia to conduct a dental examination and cleaning, which can have several benefits:

  • It enables your veterinarian to effectively remove plaque and tartar from your dog's teeth as well as treat the gum line, which may not be feasible with a wiggling, awake dog.
  • It allows your veterinarian to see everything that's going on within your dog's mouth.
  • It is considerably less stressful and much more pleasant for your pet, plus it eliminates the possibility of unintentional injury.
  • Taking x-rays is less difficult.

Make Sure Your House Accommodates Your Senior Dog's Needs

When your dog was little, you had to puppy-proof your house. Now that your dog is aging, you need to make accommodations to ensure it is comfortable as a senior canine. 

Hip dysplasia and joint issues are common in older dogs, so ramps will need to be used to help them climb and descend stairs. Food and water need to be placed within reach. 

If your floor is laminate or hardwood, it will be important to use rugs and non-slip materials to help them avoid slipping.

Spend As Much Time As Possible with Your Senior Dog

You do not want to waste a moment with your senior dog. As they age, make sure you do whatever you can to spend as much time with them as possible. 

While you may not be able to do everything you used to, you will not regret carving out some time to spend with them. 

Don't Let Your Senior Dog Overdo It on Exercise 

We don’t like to think we have lost a step. We want to do all the same things we did when we were younger. Sometimes we need help being reminded that we aren’t as young as we used to be. 

Your senior dog may need a similar reminder. You may have to help your dog mitigate their exercise. This is not the season of their lives for extra-long hikes or going on runs. 

At the same time, your furry friend still needs to spend time outdoors. Ask your vet about what amount and types of exercise is appropriate for your dog.

Increase the Frequency of Your Senior Dog's Veterinary Visits

The most important thing you can do to help care for your senior dog is increase the frequency of your dog’s wellness visits. Your trusted veterinarian will be able to help determine if your dog is in pain, give you further advice on how to care for their teeth, advise you on senior-proofing your home, and help you determine how much exercise they need. 

For a trusted veterinarian office in south Asheville, Avery Creek Pet Hospital is here for you. Contact us to schedule your senior dog’s check-up today