How to Care for Your Older Dog
As a pet parent, we know you want to do right by your older dog. We’re here to help you out. We’ve got all the information you need so you can help your older dog age comfortably, while remaining in the best possible health.
What Can I Expect As My Dog Gets Older?
As your dog gets older, it may experience signs of aging like:
- Graying of the fur
- Thinner coat
- Lumps and bumps on the body
- Loss of hearing, vision, or smell
- Greater irritability
- Needing to urinate more often
- Less interest in activities it used to enjoy
- Separation anxiety
Feed Your Dog Age-Appropriate Dog Food
For most senior dogs, we recommend a high-quality, age-appropriate dog food. However, if your dog suffers from heart disease, kidney disease, or obesity, we may suggest a special diet. Please ask us about specific recommendations during your dog’s next wellness visit.
Take Your Older Dog to the Vet Twice a Year
Senior dogs should visit the vet twice a year. For smaller breeds, that means bringing them in every six months once they reach the age of eight. Larger breeds are considered seniors once they reach the age of six.
During your wellness visit, we’ll evaluate the health of your dog and give you dog-specific recommendations to keep your pet healthy and happy as it gets older. We may also recommend one of our other services like dental care or pain management, depending on your dog’s overall health.
<h2>Exercise Your Older Dog</h2>
Yes, it’s a great idea to exercise your older dog to keep its muscles and joints in good shape. However, be careful not to overdo it. Older dogs do tend to slow down, so take it easy. For instance, while you do want to walk your dog regularly, you want to keep your walks short, if your dog has a health condition like heart disease or an injury.
You also want to keep in mind that older dogs don’t tolerate extreme temperatures well. So if you’re exercising your senior dog outdoors, spend ample time in the shade and provide plenty of water, particularly if you own a bulldog or pug. Flat-faced breeds like those are more prone to overheating.
If Your Dog Has Arthritis, Provide a Cushiony Home
Arthritis is fairly common in older dogs, particularly those with weight problems. If your dog has arthritis, we recommend:
- Providing soft, comfortable bedding to relieve the discomfort from sore joints
- Using carpets or some other form of traction to make walking easier
- Using ramps, so your dog can get up and down stairs and onto beds
- Keeping your dog warm and dry
- Talking to us about pain medications that are safe and effective for your dog
How Can I Schedule a Vet Appointment for My Older Dog?
To schedule your vet appointment at our Columbus office, please call 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.