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Senior dogs are the best. A well loved older dog is special and worth his weight in gold-not to mention the years of unconditional love and trust they have given us. They are well worth the special care needed to keep them healthy and happy in their golden years.
The senior dog needs a special health care that is different from what he needed during his younger and more active years, and our animal hospital is dedicated to help provide that care that for you and your dog. Whether it be pain control for your dog or treatment for arthritis, we will help ensure that his later years with you will be as comfortable and happy as possible for both of you.
What Changes are Normal for an Aging Dog?
Keep in mind old age is not a disease, and any change needs to be checked. Most age related issues can be helped and some can even be resolved.
Consider how “old age” is defined for dogs. The popular belief is that one human year is equal to seven dog years and is an easy way to calculate your dog’s age, although it’s not always accurate. Large breed dogs like the Great Dane age more quickly and are considered senior at 5-6 years old.
Small breeds like the toy poodle, age more slowly and are not considered senior until they are 9 years of age.
The general rule of the thumb is that once your dog reaches eight years old, he should be considered a senior and you should visit our animal care clinic so that we can discuss the best health care maintenance program suitable for your beloved pet.
One particularly wise and simple precaution is to ensure your senior pet has an examination twice yearly and blood and urine tests. Normal results are great news, meaning your senior dogs internal organs are functioning well and can tolerate a range of medications and treatments for many common senior conditions including arthritis and pain control.
Here are some changes you may notice as your dog ages:
1. Graying of hair around the face and muzzle – Graying doesn’t usually start at senior years but at middle age, which is from five to six years.
2. Hearing loss –Most commonly you will notice your dog becomes harder to wake up or is more easily startled when approached from behind. There’s not much that can be done about age-related deafness but, if the cause is a medical problem like an infection or a foreign body in the ear, immediate treatment is necessary.
3. Cloudy or “bluish” eyes – A bluish transparent haze gradually appears in the pupil area of the eyes as your dog ages. Most of these are normal aging cataracts and are not harmful, but may cause your senior dogs’ vision to be a bit fuzzy. If he’s not reading the newspaper or driving the car, he will have few problems adjusting to this!
4. Muscle Atrophy – This refers to mild loss of muscle mass, particularly in the hind legs. It can often be associated with arthritis and should be checked, since treating the arthritis may improve the muscle strength.
5. Dental Problems – Gingivitis and tooth infection are common in senior dogs and PAINFUL!! Do not let your beloved older companion suffer from mouth pain. Contrary to some common misconceptions, older dogs teeth can be cleaned under careful anesthesia and this provides incredible pain relief and significantly improved quality and longevity of life! After all, we wouldn’t allow Grandpa to suffer from a toothache just because he is “old”. Please call us to get more details.
6. “Slowing” down – Remember old age is not a disease in itself, so we have to be careful when we talk about “slowing down”. Yes, an older dog may become less active, BUT many age related diseases that are treatable will cause your dog to slow down, but this slow down is reversible once the diseases are treated! a few examples are:
Senior Dog Care is Different from Young Dog Care
Visit or call our animal care hospital to find out more about the best ways to provide senior dog care for your beloved old friend. We provide caring and compassionate senior dog care including both pain control for dogs and treatment of arthritis in dogs.
Call us at (604) 591-5304 for an appointment or with any questions, we are dedicated to helping your senior dog in his golden years.
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 7:00 pm and Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Closed Sunday
Welcome to Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital - your full-service AAHA Accredited animal hospital! We provide complete services for dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and reptiles. We value our relationships with our clients and pets, and look forward to providing compassionate care to you and your pets.
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