Our pets are living longer than ever these days, thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and pet nutrition. As our dogs age, they face a variety of conditions that can negatively affect their health. Some of the conditions that commonly affect senior dogs include diabetes, kidney and liver disease, tumors and cancer, arthritis and other joint pain, obesity and thyroid conditions, as well as dental disorders.
Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is key in keeping your dog healthy. When dogs enter their senior years, regular exams are more important than ever (most recommend twice yearly). Senior care, which starts with regular veterinary exam, is necessary to diagnose or delay the onset of disease; and for the early detection of problems such as organ failure and arthritis.
Veterinarians depend on laboratory results to help them understand your dog’s health. When your dog is healthy, laboratory tests determine baseline” values. When your dog is sick, your vet is able to compare the “baseline” values and the current values. Changes in these laboratory test results, may be a sign of the presence of an underlying disease (lab tests frequently include: blood count, urinalysis, blood chemistry and parasite evaluation).
It is also necessary to keep your senior pooch active. Activity is necessary to keep your dog at a healthy weight, while helping to maintain proper muscle tone. In addition, choosing a premium dog food and healthy treats will help by giving your pooch the necessary protein and vitamins that they need to stay healthy. As we mentioned in previous posts, fish oil is a great way to be preventative, none of us consume enough omega 3’s with our normal diets. Also, including natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin in our pooches diet can help with hip and joint health (our beef trachea chews and fish chews are a great natural source of this).
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