Dogs are wonderful at any age, but we have a soft spot for seniors. They are mellow, sweet, and reliable. They know what they like and when, and really don’t keep their owners guessing about preferences or proclivities. 

Owners know their senior pets so well by the time they reach their golden years. While they are generally easy to provide for, you can elevate senior dog care to another level with our 3 essential tips.

#1: Every Six Months

Dogs are considered seniors around the time they turn 7 years old. Large breed dogs tend to age faster than smaller or toy breeds, and may benefit from two exams a year earlier than age 7. 

The primary reason for this frequency is that age-related illnesses can sneak up on you. Routine blood testing and other diagnostics can detect problems well before they spread or intensify. Additionally, increasing visits can help us prevent the onset of disease through various modalities, like diet or exercise modification, prescriptions, or supportive therapies. 

Increasing wellness to every six months is vitally important to senior dog care. Doing so can keep your dog healthy and comfortable for longer.

#2: Dental Care

The majority of pets over age three have signs of periodontal (gum) disease. Typically beginning with bad breath, periodontal disease is linked to many health problems, including heart disease. 

Senior dog care hinges on optimal dental health. We recommend that dogs have their teeth brushed at home at least weekly (more is always better). At every wellness exam, we take a peek inside the mouth to assess the appearance of the teeth and gums. Built up plaque and tartar need to be professionally removed in order to prevent receding gums, tooth decay, and loss. Pre-anesthesia lab work is critical to ensure senior dogs can withstand the procedure. 

#3: Keep ‘Em Moving

We know how counterintuitive it can seem, but aging pups with mobility issues or osteoarthritis actually benefit from daily movement. We’re not suggesting any vigorous workouts uphill, but a daily walk around the park is important to keeping weight down and joints limber. 

Invest in a post-walk orthopedic bed that supports their achy muscles and keeps them warm. 

Another critical benefit to exercise is mental stimulation. Your dog thoroughly enjoys all the sights, smells, sounds, and sensations experienced outside, on drives, or visiting public places. Keeping them mentally active and alert can stave off lethargy and depression. 

Best Friends Forever

Whether you’ve recently adopted a golden oldie, or you’ve known your best bud their whole life, senior dog care is incredibly rewarding. 

Our staff at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital always looks forward to seeing our senior patients. If you have any concerns about your aging dog’s overall health, please call us at (210) 681-1391.