As your dog ages, many of his/her basic needs, from diet to exercise, will begin to change. Dogs are very good at hiding their health problems and as an owner, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on your senior dog to ensure that you are adjusting his routine to match changes in his body and immune system that make him less able to cope with physical and environmental stresses. Routine exams, preventive medicine, and adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle can help your loyal friend stay healthy even as the years creep up.
When does a dog become a senior?
Key factors such as size determine how dogs age at varying rates. For example, small breed dogs reach senior status at approximately nine years of age, medium breed dog at eight years and larger breed dogs at 6-7 years.
While each dog reaches “seniorhood” at a different age, most canines become seniors between 7 and 10 years old. It’s important to know your dog’s age, so you know when he/she becomes a senior.
What are common senior dog health issues?
Some issues that become more prevalent as your dog ages can include the following:
- Cancer (especially testicular or breast cancer)
- Prostate disease
- Cognitive disorders
- Intestinal problems
- Dental disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Vision problems
How should I care for my senior dog?
Just like us, regular health checkups become increasingly important as dogs grow older. We recommend that your senior dog should be seen at least once every six months. The purpose of these wellness exams is to do three things:
- Promote your dog’s health and longevity.
- Recognize and control your dog’s health risks.
- Detect any illnesses at their earliest stages, which may improve treatment options.