If you have a dog that's older than eight or nine years old, there's a good chance that your canine companion would be considered a senior. As your pet ages, there are many steps you should be taking to help him or her lead the happiest and healthiest life possible.
Schedule Biannual Exams
For most adult dogs, an annual health and wellness exam is sufficient. However, when your dog reaches senior age, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent exams to stay on top of even the smallest of changes in your dog's health. Generally, senior dogs should be brought in for comprehensive health and wellness exams twice a year rather than once a year.
Find a Vet That Specializes in Senior Care
In addition to having your dog seen more frequently for wellness exams, it's also a good idea to make sure your vet specializes in senior and geriatric dog care. Veterinarians with this specialty will be able to provide your aging dog with the care he or she needs to maximize health and wellness. Furthermore, a vet who specializes in senior care will know which types of screenings may need to be run on your pet based on his or her age and unique risk factors.
Consider a Change in Your Dog's Nutrition
As your dog ages, his or her nutritional needs may change as well. For example, older dogs often have a harder time keeping weight on than younger dogs, so if you've noticed that your dog has been losing weight or is underweight, you might want to speak to your veterinarian about switching your dog to a different food formula--and preferably something that is high in calorie content.
Make Sure Your Home is Accessible
Finally, there are some changes you night want to consider making around the house to make it easier for your aging dog to get around. This is especially important for pets who have developed arthritis or who otherwise have mobility challenges. For example, make sure your dog's food, water, and comfortable bedding is within easy reach and minimize the amount of stairs your dog needs to take to get around the house.
A little bit of extra care goes a long way in protecting your aging dog's health and wellness, so be sure to keep these tips in mind. And if you ever have a concern about your dog's health, be sure to see a vet!
To learn more, contact a center like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital.