All Things Dog

Caring for Your Senior Companion

A writer once summed up life with a senior dog this way: "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog." If you're lucky enough to share your life with an older dog, you probably want to do all you can to keep him happy, healthy, and around for years to come. These 11 tips can help.

  1. Find a vet you trust. Regular checkups become more important than ever as your dog ages. At this stage of life, a thorough examination is recommended every six months.
  2. Keep an eye on his health. Know the conditions common to older dogs in general, and your breed in particular. Be on the lookout for symptoms of common ailments and bring your dog to the vet if you notice any of their symptoms.
  3. Don't overfeed. Excess weight can aggravate many medical conditions, including heart, respiratory, skin, and joint problems. To help a dog that needs less calories maintain his weight, increase his activity level and watch his food intake-or switch to a lower-fat diet, such as PEDIGREE® Healthy Weight Food for Dogs.
  4. Put comfort on the menu. Dog food and water bowls placed on the floor may make eating and drinking uncomfortable for a dog whose arthritis makes it difficult to bend. Look for an elevated feeder at your pet store, or put dog bowls on a small crate. Check with your veterinarian about whether height-adjusted feeding is right for your dog.
  5. Help ease joint pain. Dietary supplements, such as glucosamine/chondroitin, may help with stiffness or arthritis discomfort. Your vet may also prescribe medications.
  6. Take it easy. Daily walks can keep his muscles toned and his joints moving. Two brief walks a day are better than one long walk. Avoid going out in extreme temperatures or weather conditions.
  7. Make time to play. Have fun but keep things light: when playing fetch, keep the tosses short, so he doesn't overexert himself.
  8. Review your dog's vaccination schedule. Consult your veterinarian about the possibility of decreasing the frequency of vaccination for your dog.
  9. Control fleas and ticks. Treat him regularly and keep your dog and his environment spotlessly clean.
  10. Regular grooming. Grooming is a great way to physically bond with your dog-and it makes him feel comfortable and special. Plus, it's also important for his hygiene and cleanliness.
  11. Make him a part of your life. Include him in as many activities as possible, and do all you can to keep him alert, active, happy, and comfortable.


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