Special Needs of Senior Dogs

Do you have a senior dog? 

The old rule that one human year equals seven dog years, although easy, is not a very accurate way to determine your dog’s age. Large breed dogs age faster than small breeds.  In general, a dog who is 7 years or older should be considered middle to senior aged.  Your vet is the best person to help you determine the health care maintenance of your dog as he ages.

There are things that MAY occur with your dog that will indicate he is aging.

  1. You may notice your dog is slower.  Slower when he runs, slower when he goes up and down stairs and even slower when getting up.  In large breeds, arthritis is very common. Arthritis occurs in the legs, neck and back.  You may notice your dog seems stiff, has a problem rising and may even be reluctant to go for a walk. Your vet should examine your dog. He can prescribe medication (prescription or over-the-counter) to help with the discomfort.  NEVER give your dog human medicine.  This could greatly harm or even kill your dog.
  2. Hearing loss is also common as a dog ages.  You may find the noises that used to wake him up no longer do or he may be startled if approached from behind because he doesn’t hear you.  This may be normal aging, but you should have your vet check for any medical condition that may be causing the hearing loss.
  3. Most dogs show some sign of graying around the muzzle.  This is normal.  It happens to the best of us. :)
  4. Aging dogs often show a cloudy or bluish haze in the pupil area.  This is called  lenticular sclerosis and is considered normal, with no effect on vision. However, if your dog pupils are white and opaque this is cataracts.  Vision will be affected by cataracts and your vet should examine your dog.

If your dog is showing signs of arthritis, there are many things you can do to help your pet.  First, keep your dog at a normal weight.  This is important to avoid excess pressure on joints. Second, exercise your dog.   A walk will exercise the muscles around the joints and this will help reduce stress on the joint.  Do not push your dog. Let him be the guide to when he is done.  Give you pet any medication prescribed by your vet.

If you have a pickup truck or SUV, you should consider a Pet Ramp which is perfect for helping your pet reach high places.  The Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp   extends from 39″ to 72″ and anywhere in between.  Fully extended it is perfect for  pickup trucks, SUVs, grooming tables, etc.  When the ramp is shortened it is perfect  for limited space or a lower upper surface, such as a bed, couch, or even side entry on a minivan.  The Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp is  lightweight weighing only 13 lbs and will  supports up to 400 lbs.  It has a  unique aluminum and plastic design making it   light weight and strong. Its compact size makes it easy use and store.  The dimensions are  39-72 in. long x 17 inch wide  x 4 inch rails.

A Half Ramp is also available. It only weighs 7 pounds an will support up to 2oo pounds.  The size is 39 inch  long x 17 inch wide x 5 inch rails.

Using a ramp to assist your dog will not only help your dog, but will help prevent injury to yourself since you will not need to lift your dog. A ramp is safe for both pet and owner.

Remember as you pet ages, it is your job to keep him safe and in as little pain as possible.