What are the most common problems in senior dogs?

The most common problems or complaints we hear about senior dogs include them slowing down, getting stiffer, becoming a bit lazier, not seeing as well, coughing, having changes in their weight, and lumps and bumps.

Dr. Brittany Bueter
Hebron Animal Hospital

As my senior dog gets older, are regular wellness exams really required?

Regular wellness exams aren't required, but they're highly encouraged. Given that dogs age faster than humans, it's beneficial for them to visit the vet about twice a year. This helps us monitor their weight, eyesight, lumps and bumps, murmurs, and dental health.

What do you look for when examining a senior dog?

Each exam involves a full, nose-to-tail check. We look at their eyes, teeth, lumps and bumps, joints, heart, and abdomen. We're checking for signs of diseases and other health concerns such as nuclear sclerosis, tooth abscessation, arthritis, heart murmurs, arrhythmia, and abnormal organ enlargement.

What can I do to extend the length of my dog's life?

Regular physical exams are vital. Feeding your dog quality diets, ensuring they get appropriate exercise, and possibly giving them necessary supplements can help extend their life. It's essential to have a good relationship with your vet and make sure your dog gets regular physical exams.

What are some nutritional changes I should make as my dog grows older?

This varies depending on the dog, but it's generally recommended to feed them quality diets and avoid overfeeding. Some dogs may also benefit from joint, skin, or cognitive supplements.

What about some environmental changes I should make as my dog grows older?

Make sure your dog can't get hurt. Prevent them from falling down the stairs or running into sharp corners. Ensure your fences and gates are secure to prevent them from wandering off. Keep them engaged with toys, games, walks, and other activities.

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