Veterinary Care for Older Pets
Vet care for older pets is a little different than it is for younger dogs. Much like humans, as dogs get older, certain ailments begin to set in such as arthritic conditions among other things.
As dogs age, they age differently according to size. Typically, the smaller your dog is the longer his lifespan will be. For example, when your dog reaches the age of 7, and if he is less than 20 pounds he would compare to a human of the age of 40 while a dog weighing in at 20-50 pounds would compare to the human age of 47. Therefore, their levels of care will be different as well.
Older pets will need more specialized care generally speaking. For instance, the aforementioned arthritis is painful, but with proper care, a veterinarian can tell you which pet medications to use that will reduce the overall effect of the pain on your pet.
Older dogs will also experience some vision and hearing loss, liver and kidney disease and more, much like humans. Older dogs may also suffer from diabetes and even heart disease. If your pet has any of these problems, they will most definitely need to be monitored by a veterinarian who will help you to keep these issues under control.
Older pets will also need a diet especially for them. As your pet ages, their nutritional intake requirements will change as well. As long as we pay particular attention to these specialized needs, your pet will remain with you for many years to come.
As aging is a challenge for human beings, it is for your pet too, and here are some things that you can do to help make your pet more comfortable overall:
- Semi-annual checkups with the vet
- Extra love and patience. Older dogs are more prone to occasional “accidents”. Scolding the dog will not help matters. It’s usually beyond their control.
- Plenty of fresh water in convenient locations.
- Feed twice a day. Older dogs need a more specialized diet to make sure they are getting all the necessary nutrients. The consistency of the food may have to be changed (from dry to soft) in the event your older pet is having dental problems.
- For pets that are permitted to lie on the bed or sofa, it is helpful to them if they have a set of steps to get up there. These are distributed by major retailers as there are many older pets that just can’t jump anymore.
- Older dogs can fall down steps, believe it or not. What generally happens is their joints are weak, especially where arthritis is involved, and their legs can “give-out”. Using gates at stairways can prevent this from happening.
- Ask your vet for an exercise plan that is appropriate for your pet and his age. Plenty of exercise, within your pet’s limits will be an overall contributor to his health.
You should address any concerns you have to your vet. He will be able to provide you with a good overall plan of action that will keep your pet around for many years to come.
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