As a dog ages, they can “slow down” significantly, but it is important to note that age is not a disease. While some changes to a pet’s behaviour and attitude are expected with age and may be considered as “slowing down”, there are certain health concerns that are more prevalent with advanced age, such as kidney failure and arthritis which are important to identify. It is, therefore, crucial to continue with regular veterinary care even more so during a pet’s senior years. Regular visits to see a veterinarian can help identify signs of these age-related conditions early and help to improve your pet’s quality of life in their senior years.
When is a dog considered a senior pet?
Dogs are considered a senior as early as 7 years old depending on the breed. However, larger breeds generally have shorter lifespans than small breed dogs.
How should I care for my senior dog? (example: schedule regular check-ups, exercise, special diet, etc.)
A senior check-up every 6 to 12 months is ideal, and more specific recommendations may be made for your pet at the time of their examination. At home, it is ideal to feed a diet that is appropriate for seniors or their specific health needs. It is also important to exercise your senior pet regularly, but to tailor to your pet’s limitations as they age. It may mean exercising in shorter periods of time more often rather than long exercise sessions and limiting high impact activity to lessen joint stiffness and pain. Monitor closely at home for any behavioural changes, change in appetite, increased thirst or urination, any unexpected changes in weight, or changes in skin and fur coat. Contact us if you have any concerns.