Dog Health - Tip on Taking Care of Older Dogs

"Many dogs, especially family pets, stay with their families for years. As you grow older, you also need to remember that your four legged best friend is growing old with you. They say that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years, which means that your dog will be a senior in less than ten years.

What can you expect when your dog becomes older? They certainly will not be as active as they were before and they might need special attention. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when caring for a senior dog.


Less protein, more fiber

Protein gives dogs energy. Your dog will need to burn all that protein they ate to avoid any health issues. Since they are less active when they are older, you'll have to cut down their protein intake. Instead, give them food that's rich in fiber. You can find many dog food brands that offer a line of products specifically for older dogs.

Reduced hearing

Like humans, dogs will also start to experience hearing loss during their senior years. If you notice your dog becoming easily startled when approached from behind or if it doesn't respond to you when you call it, it could be a sign of hearing problems. Have them checked by the vet. There is a possibility that the hearing problem is caused by medical issues like growth, infections, or foreign particles in their ears. However, for age-related hearing problems, there isn't much you can do.

Health

An older dog's health should be constantly monitored, as many illnesses, such as degenerative myelopathy, only show up when the dog is over five years. You can also expect common joint and bone problems to develop, especially if the dog's blood line has a history of these diseases.

It's also important that you take your dog to the vet more frequently for checkups. You can easily cure or minimize the effect of an illness if it's detected in its earlier stages.

Mobility problems

Older dogs are also more likely to have problems with moving around. In their senior years, a dog's nerves begin to deteriorate, causing them to have difficulty controlling the movement of their limbs. In illnesses like degenerative myelopathy, a dog's nerves begin to malfunction, potentially leading to paralysis.

In this case, you might need to help your dog by giving it support or even letting it use a dog wheel chair. You can also help the dog by placing it on a physical therapy program which will let it regain better control over its limbs."

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