Senior dog care - an overview
For many pet lovers, watching our companions grow older is a comforting, rewarding experience. Hard to believe the same bundle of energy tearing around the yard so many years ago is now the calm and kind old friend curled at our feet.
Dogs heading in to their later years require unique attention to help comfort them and extend their precious time with us.
As your dog ages you may notice the outward signs such as white hairs around the muzzle, decreased activity and difficulty getting up. Then there are the internal signs we can't see that may indicate kidney disease, heart disease and other age related diseases.
Your role in looking out for early warning signs
As your dog's owner, you are in the best position to look out for the early warning signs of aging and age related diseases. Here are some of the signs that can indicate change and require action:-
- Change in appetite
- Discomfort on rising or after exercise
- Weight loss or gain
- Loss of housetraining
- Excessive drinking and/or urination
- Bad breath, plaque, or bleeding gums
- Confusion or disorientation
- Persistent cough
- Change in sleep patterns
- Appearance of lumps and bumps
Older pets need more extensive examinations, more often.
About the senior dog program
The Senior Dog Program generally involves a visit with us twice a year (one of these visits will be for vaccination and senior check up), the aim being to see your dog every 2-3 'dog years'.
A senior dog check will include:
- A hands on physical examination
- Weight check
- Arthritis grading
- Dental assessment
- Cardiac monitoring
- Discussion about your dogs behaviour
- Eye examination
- Examinations of lumps and bumps
The aim of our Senior Dog Program is to make the life of your canine companion long and healthy. We take pleasure in helping you to acheive this.
A healthy life for longer
At the senior check up we are identifying subtle changes in body function. If there are abnormalities detected in initial testing, further investigation or more frequent testing may be recommended.
A properly formulated diet will have a significant impact on the health of a senior dog and our health care team are trained to advise you on the best nutrition for your companion.
The approach to your senior dog is that of a pet care partnership combining your observations at home with our examination. Typically most of the diseases we are keeping an eye out for in senior dogs are controllable with simple diet changes and/or medications.
Our ongoing monitoring allows us to ensure we have the correct combination of treatment in place for your pet, as well as assisting you to provide the best lifestyle and home environment possible.
A companion for life - the good news
Over the past few decades life expectancy of dogs has been increasing. This is due to a number of factors:-
- An emphasis on preventative healthcare programmes to detect problems at an early state so treatment can commence sooner.
- Advances in veterinary medicine enabling veterinarians to successfully diagnose and treat more conditions.
- A greater understanding of the nutritional needs of dogs throughout different lifestages.
Celebrating the human ~ animal bond
There is a lot to be said for the experience of sitting quietly with a long trusted friend at your feet, hearing the sound of them sleeping and the calming sensation of stroking their coat. Our Seniors Program is just one of the ways we help to preserve and celebrate the special bond that exists between humans and their pets.
If you have any concerns or would like to discuss any changes in your dog's behaviour or well being, no matter how small the change might be, please do not hesitate to contact us.