An older dog and a younger pup have different needs. Just as people age so do dogs, but every human year is counted as being seven years in a canines life, some breeds age even faster. Good health care is a necessity to an animal of any age, but it is vital as an older dog ages.
Above all, be on watch for any peculiar changes in an older pooch. Keep this watch list in mind, write it down, or hang it up, but make sure to watch and use this knowledge, for it could mean life or death for the animal.
What symptoms to watch for in the older dog:
skin or coat problems
extreme thirst, dry nose
not drinking or dehydration
not eating or change in appetite
urinating more or a lot less
more irritable than normal
less social than usual, reclusive
changes in bowel habits, diarrhea
bleeding from anywhere on the body
sneezing, watery, or draining eyes
coughing, hacking, gagging, hoarseness
tiring quickly, untypical sleep patterns
limping, dragging hind legs, strange walk
difficulty going up or down stairs
Watch for these diseases:
nervous system diseases
hypothyroidism [disease of thyroid]
arthritis, watch for pain, stiffness
Also, watch for diseases for the particular breed
What care can be given for older dogs?
keep appointments for routine exams
stool check if necessary
make sure shots are up to date
blood screens when needed
X rays and other tests if needed
medications and other treatments
soothe with a soft bed, blankets
keep free of pests like fleas, ticks
never feed him human foods
use flea bombs if he is indoors
flea the bed/box he uses
Bathe the pet, keep him clean
Brush the dogs fur regularly
contact the vet = always best bet!
Make life comfortable as can be for the older dog. This does include keeping him warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather, and keeping his resting place clean and comfortable. Also, make sure that fleas are not an issue by using Frontline Plus or one of the other excellent dips available for dogs.
Also, dip other pets to prevent reinfecting your older dog. Fleas do live year round, so it is best to kill the eggs fleas lay. These pesky bugs can make an animal or human miserable, and a home infestation can be a costly nightmare.
Above all, give your older dog attention and love. He will feel comfortable with familiar people, and he will need to trust his caretaker. Don’t forget to play with the pet. Just because he is aging doesn’t mean that he is not interested in his regular activities. Just remember to slow the pace to coincide with his activity level. A dog can live a good life with love and proper care.