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Caring for Your Older Dog

Do you have an aging dog on your hands? While what is considered “old” in dog standards varies—large-breed dogs are generally considered seniors by the age of about seven, while smaller dogs tend to live longer—there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your dog stays healthy in their golden years. Learn more here from a Westminster, MD veterinarian.

Proper Diet

All aging dogs need to be fed a proper diet, ideally one formulated specifically for the needs of senior canines. These dietary formulas are made to be easily digestible, and may have different levels of calories and fiber, among other nutrients. Ask your vet to recommend a great diet choice for your dog’s needs, and don’t hesitate to ask about advice on proper portion size. Overfeeding your senior dog only contributes to possible obesity!

Light Exercise

Pair a great diet with regular light exercise, and your dog will do very well in his older years. Try going on walks around your neighborhood, or romp around with a favorite toy on the living room floor. Don’t exhaust your dog, but be sure to get them moving on a daily basis so that they burn off excess calories and keep the muscles limber. Ask your vet what sort of light exercise techniques might suit your particular breed of dog.

Home Accommodations

Certain accommodations around your home can be very helpful for some senior dogs, especially those starting to suffer from the painful twinges of arthritis. Consider adding ramps to the edges of stairs, perhaps lined with strips of carpet for grip, to make getting up a set of stairs a bit easier on your pooch. You might also add rugs or strips of carpet to slippery tile or wooden floors, as these items allow your dog to keep his footing and avoid taking a painful tumble.

Veterinary Checkups

Now more than ever, it’s important that your veterinarian sees your dog regularly for examinations. It’s very easy for health issues to creep up and cause problems unexpectedly, and the sooner your veterinarian can catch them, the better. It’s recommended that your dog see your veterinarian at least twice a year, if not more, during the senior years.

Is your senior dog due for an appointment? Do you have more questions about the best ways to care for an aging canine? Call your Westminster, MD veterinary clinic today.