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Have you noticed that your dog’s fur is turning grey around his muzzle? Is Fido slowing down, and perhaps taking longer to get up and down? Our canine companions have much shorter lifespans than we do, but it can still be a bit of a shock to realize that your playful pet is reaching his golden years. Read on as a Jacksonville, FL vet discusses caring for an older pooch.
Make sure that Fido is eating a good, high-quality dog food. Treats are fine, but don’t go overboard. Obesity is very bad for dogs! It’s particularly problematic with senior dogs, as it can aggravate bone/joint issues, like arthritis.
Dogs naturally slow down as they age, but they still need regular activity to stay healthy. Don’t let Fido become a couch potato! You may find that you really enjoy taking relaxing walks with your cute pet faithfully plodding along beside you. One bonus of walking older pooches? They aren’t as interested in lunging after squirrels!
Arthritis is very common in older pups. Keep an eye out for early symptoms. Some common ones are limping, stiffness, lower energy, loss of interest in play, and trouble climbing and/or jumping on things. Fido may also lick or bite himself. If you notice any of these warning signs, consult your vet.
Senior dogs are very sensitive to temperature extremes. Keep Fido in rooms cooled by fans or AC’s when it’s hot out.
Small touches, like comfy beds, can really help keep your canine friend comfortable. We recommend getting orthopedic beds for older pups. Pet ramps or stairs are also beneficial, as are elevated dishes.
Sometimes dogs in their senior years become incontinent. Don’t get upset with your furry friend if this happens. Fido can’t help it, and is often embarrassed by his accidents. Consider getting a potty pad, or a bit of artificial lawn for emergencies. Doggy diapers are another option, but be careful: they can cause urine burns if left on when wet. Ask your vet for more information.
Last but not least, make sure your pooch feels loved and safe. Talk to him, pet him, and offer lots of belly rubs. This is a special time in Fido’s life, and one that may pass far too quickly.
Please contact us, your Jacksonville, FL vet clinic, anytime. We are here to help!