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How To Take Care Of An Older Dog

How To Take Care Of An Older Dog

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just like people, dogs go through life stages of growth, maturity and ageing. Old age comes at different times for different breeds of dogs. Larger breeds tend to age early as their life expectancy is generally less than 10 years. medium-sized breeds have a life expectancy of 11-14 years and small breeds can live 15 years or more. Keep in mind that a strong, healthy dog will most likely age later than a dog that is stressed by decease or environment early in his life.  
 
 Preventive Care
   Although ageing is inevitable, you can delay the process by following these 4 simple rules:
  1. Regular vet visits. I would recommend at least one annual visit for general health check and vaccinations. Keep an eye on changes in dog behaviour, his skin and fur condition, teeth etc
  2. Good quality nutrition. This is critical to good health at all ages. When buying dog food always read the information at the back of the package. There should always be a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that the food is “complete and balanced.” “Complete” means the food has all the nutrients that dogs of that life stage require, and “balanced” means the nutrients are in the correct ratios.
  3. Exercise. A fat, couch potato dog may be happy being pampered, but will live longer if he takes a hike every now and then. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise on a daily basis. Walk in the park, play in the garden, run on the beach etc.
  4. Hygiene. Cleaning his teeth to prevent gum disease and grooming to keep his skin and coat healthy is a daily routine that you should follow. 

First signs of ageing

   The first sign of ageing you might notice is usually general decrease in activity level, tendency to sleep longer, loss of enthusiasm for long walks, loss of interest in their favourite toys etc.

What to do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There is a fine line between easing your pet's transition into old age and rushing him in to the life of canine invalid. Let your dog set his own limits for as long as possible. Here are few things you could do to start with:

  1. Reduce calorie intake if necessary to prevent him from getting fat. There are plenty of good quality dog products formulated specially for older dogs.
  2. Consider investing in a baby gate to keep him away from stairs or living room carpet if necessary.
  3. Ask your vet for advice. Every dog is ageing differently and at a different speed. Its always best to consult your vet on how best to look after your old friend during his golden years. 

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