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Senior dog care

Senior Dog Care

Just as humans have certain physical or mental problems as they grow old, your dog too, may undergo certain behavioral and physical changes due to old age.

While you followed certain guidelines when taking care of your dog when it was a puppy, old dog care will entail a different set of guidelines.

How to Care for Old Dog


Regular physical check-ups with a veterinary doctor are necessary in order to ensure proper senior dog care.

Your old dog would not only need certain screening diagnostic procedures to find out if there is any major problem, but also to rule out life-threatening diseases.

This will enable your dog to live longer and receive a better quality of life.

  • There are numerous geriatric canine wellness centers, which also give combined packages. They include diagnostic tests such as blood tests, fecal exams, urine analysis, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and x-rays.
  • Physical examinations such as rectal exams, eye and ear check-ups are essential. Oral check-ups, as well as checking the hair and coat, are also part of proper dog health care. Good senior dog care would also include checking for external parasites (ticks, mites, lice, and others) or internal parasites (tapeworms). The heart and blood pressure should also be checked.
  • Vaccinations also form part of proper senior dog care
  • Another important aspect for wellness would be weight management and counseling for diet and nutrition. Your vet may draw up a proper chart which you can follow to ensure that your old dog remains healthy.

Common diseases or ailments in old dogs:

Senior dog care will include knowledge of certain diseases which can affect your dog, the symptoms associated with it, and how to initiate proper dog health care.

  • Keep a look out for sores that don’t heal, or an abnormal swelling which keeps growing or lasts very long, since that may signal cancer. Any offensive odor, discharge or bleeding from any body opening, difficulty in swallowing or eating, loss of appetite, weight loss, could also take place.
  • Look out for increased thirst or urination, vomiting, blood in urine, dribbling of urine, as these may signal kidney or prostate problems.
  • Gastro-intestinal problems also occur in old dogs and symptoms could be vomiting, blood or mucous in vomit or stools, tarry stools, bad breath oral ulcers, diarrhea.
  • Senior dogs can also be plagued by arthritis, which could be characterized by difficulty in walking, jumping, climbing steps, or rising.
  • Cataracts could give a cloudy look to your dog’s eyes, make it bump into objects or be unable to retrieve objects.
  • Your old dog may get a pot-bellied appearance, or suffer from lethargy or depression, or lose a lot of hair – all caused by hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.
  • Old dogs also suffer decreased hearing and are less able to handle stress.
  Submitted on May 20, 2010