Whether you have raised your dog from a tiny puppy or you have recently adopted an older animal, you will find that as dogs get older, their needs change. Just like people, their bodies are going to grow frailer and unless care is taken, their health can deteriorate a great deal and very quickly as well. Take some time and consider what you need to do to maintain your dog’s health and what steps need to be taken.
First and foremost, when you want to make sure that your older dog stays healthy, make sure that you take some time and observe him, i.e. how he acts (both mentally and physically), does he move around comfortably, etc. Does he look as if he is moving more stiffly or is he hesitating when he first gets up? Some dogs will show their age through generally being less eager to play, while there are certainly dogs that don’t want to slow down at all and will end up hurting themselves in their enthusiasm. As your dog gets older, take some time and make sure that you keep an eye on how he looks. Regular visits to the veterinarian are going to be essential as your dog ages, and you will discover that these visits can keep you appraised of issues that might not have occurred to you.
As a dog gets older, you should also look into his weight and what his nutrition is like. If your notice that your dog has unexpectedly gained or lost weight, this is something that you need to report to your veterinarian right away. At the very least, your veterinarian should know if your dog’s weight has changed purely for medical purposes. Medications for heartworm, for instance, are prescribed in dosages that are related to a dog’s weight. Also keep an eye on how much your dog is willing to eat and whether he is drinking water at all. Remember that if you want to change your dog’s diet that you should do it slowly, as older dogs do not deal well with dietary changes.
As your dog ages, you should also start thinking about what he is able to see. Eye exams are necessary because dogs can start having issues with their sight the same way that people do. They can develop conditions like dry eye or glaucoma, and they can also develop dry eye, which occurs when not enough tears are produced. If your dog is an older adult, start speaking with your veterinarian about his eyes and what signs you should be looking out for.
Observing your older dog can allow you to become fully aware of what he may need either in the present or in the future. It is important that you take some time and make sure that you address the health of your older dog as there are many things to pay attention to; this can ultimately be the key to helping him live a long and healthy life.