All people with pets love them. This is why Americans spend almost $20.5 billion every year on pet food, nearly $12.6 billion on pet supplies and over the counter medicine and another $13.6 billion on vet care. You have loved your dog since you brought them home as a puppy. The love people feel for their pets does not diminish as the pet ages, it might even grow as the bond between pet and pet owner grows. Most people think of their pets as members of the family. Senior dog care is a big deal around the country and there are things you can do to keep your senior dog healthy and happy longer.
- Get to know a local vet. It is important to take your dog in for regular check ups. Younger pets can get away with a check up once a year but senior dogs should be taken into the vet clinic at least once every six months. It is always a good idea, for dogs and cats of all ages, to have a vet you go to regularly. This person is like your dog’s primary care doctor. When you go to the same person for vet care, they get to know your dog and they can be a valuable resource. You and your dog will be more comfortable with someone you know.
- Get your dog vaccinated. There are different schools of thought about how often certain vaccines need to be administered so check with the vet. Also, make sure you get your dog the right flea protection. This is just as important for senior dogs as it is for puppies. No one wants fleas and you can prevent an infestation with the right preventative treatments.
- Get to know more about your dog’s beed. There are different changes in older dogs for different breeds. If you have a purebred dog, you should learn what pet health care needs they may have as they grow older. The kinds of senior dog care may differ from dog breed to dog breed but knowing what to look for will help you keep your pooch healthy longer.
- Watch their diet. You should get the best quality food that fits your budget. Beware of feeding your dog table scraps or too many treats. Yes, all dogs like to get treats and scraps from the table but these are not good for their health. Obesity is a real problem for many senior dogs and can cause many health problems and make others a lot worse. Many of the problems humans have when they are overweight or obese can plague dogs.
- Watch their joints. Many people take glucosamine and chondroitin to help them with osteoarthritis. Many senior dog care plans include giving them the same supplements to help them with the same kinds of joint pains people have. It may surprise you but senior dogs have a lot of the same problems that senior humans have. Make sure you do not give them any of your over the counter medications. Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) can be very dangerous or deadly for dogs and cats so never give your pets anything without talking to your vet’s office.
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Senior dog care has to include an exercise regimen. They may not be able to go as long, far or fast as they once could but they still need exercise. Just adjust the amount to what they can handle. This will keep them both healthier and happier for a longer period of time.
- Do not neglect your dog’s dental health. Brush your pooch’s teeth every day. Ask your vet how often they will need to be brought in for professional cleanings and adhere to that schedule. Your dog;s dental and overall health, and yours, is linked so keeping their teeth and gums healthy is a great way to keep them healthy, too.
Your dog is a member of your family. As such, you want to keep him or her as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible. If you pay attention to their health, you can do just that.