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Caring for Your Aging Dog

Is your canine friend going gray around the muzzle? Does Fido seem more interested in napping than playing lately? It may seem like just yesterday you had an energetic, frisky puppy, so it can be very surprising to realize that your beloved pet is entering his golden years. As Fido ages, you may need to make some minor adjustments to his care regimen. A Niwot, CO vet discusses senior dog care below.

Fido’s Senior Years

There is no set age for dogs to become seniors: it varies by breed. Large dogs, such as Great Danes, age fastest, and may be considered seniors by age 6. Medium-sized dogs typically become seniors around 8 to 10 years, while small dogs may not enter their golden years until as late as 13. Regardless of breed, many of our canine friends experience similar changes as they grow old. Bone or joint conditions, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, are not uncommon. Fido may begin to have difficulty climbing stairs, getting in and out of cars, or even standing up. His vision and hearing may decline, and he may show signs of confusion. Researching your pup’s breed may give you some ideas on what to expect.

Keeping Your Canine Pal Healthy

Proper exercise and a nutritious diet are both crucial to your dog’s health. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, including when to switch to senior formula pet food. As for exercise, you’ll want to keep your canine buddy active, but don’t overexert him. Fido may get tired quickly, and he’ll be more susceptible to temperature extremes.

Comfort

Just like people, dogs often become stiff and sore as they age. A good, orthopedic bed will help your pooch sleep more comfortably. Fido may find it easier to eat from an elevated dish, as these will reduce the strain on his neck. Doggy ramps or stairs can help him with stairs and getting in and out of the car.

Veterinary Care

Fido may need more checkups as he ages, so your vet can monitor him for signs of health-related issues. Your dog’s ability to fight things off will lessen as he ages, so be sure to keep up on his parasite prevention and vaccines.

Please contact us, your Niwot, CO veterinary clinic, with any questions or concerns you have about caring for a senior dog. We are always here to help!

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