Although you may still see Rover as the energetic, enthusiastic pup you’ve always known, the reality is that pets age much more rapidly than humans. In a healthy, well-cared for dog, the changes can be subtle. Adding to this confusion are lifespan averages that vary among species and by pet size making an always changing environment for senior dog care.
For these reasons, consistent pet wellness care is the most effective way to keep track of your pet’s baseline health to ensure that anything out of that norm is detected early. Wellness care also plays a significant role in preventing problems and other illnesses from developing.
The Importance of Senior Dog Care Wellness
Whether you’ve raised your pet from puppyhood or adopted a special senior pet, giving your pet the best life possible is important. The tenets of senior pet care offer several advantages to your golden oldie in ways that encourage health and prevent problems.
If you’re unsure of where your pet is on the spectrum of life, consult the team at Paws, Purrs & Exotics. Generally speaking, most dogs benefit from senior wellness after age 6 or 7.
Senior Wellness Exams
The senior wellness exam is one of the most integral components of your pet’s care. These biannual exams help track your dog’s well-being and enables our team to curtail any problems through early diagnosis, treatment planning, and lifestyle changes.
Senior wellness appointments include:
- Thorough physical examination
- Diagnostic screening for early detection of ailments common to seniors (diabetes, arthritis, cancer, etc.)
- Tailored vaccine and parasite prevention program (suitable for age and health)
- Diet and nutrition
- Behavior and cognition (cognitive impairment can become a problem for many older pets)
- Dental health
The goal of these exams is to screen for the onset of health issues and – in partnership with you – to make any necessary adjustments to increase mobility, energy, and overall happiness.
Nutrition and Weight Management
Seniors are prone to weight gain and obesity as their activity levels decrease. While obesity significantly impacts all pets, it’s particularly detrimental to seniors. One way to keep your pet healthy is by sticking to the recommended diet and portion sizes, avoiding treats and table scraps.
Older pets also require adjustments to nutrition, which may include adding a prescription diet to address any health issues, as well as providing additional nutrients, fiber, and supplements.
While your fur friend may not be able to romp and run like before, exercise remains very important to overall senior dog care. Depending on your pal’s level of mobility, certain exercises, such as swimming, gentle walks, and challenging puzzles, can be great ways to keep your pooch socialized and at a healthy weight.
Other Aspects of Senior Dog Care
To make your home senior friendly, certain modifications may be necessary:
- Orthopedic bed or extra padding for support
- Raised food and water bowl platform to reduce the need to bend
- Using a ramp in place of steps or when entering/exiting the car
- Adding carpet or rugs for nonslip traction
- Keeping the sleeping area draft-free
For more tips and recommendations for senior dog care, please contact your friends at Paws, Purrs & Exotics.