Taking Care of Your Senior Dog

Posted by bmedia on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Gresham Animal Hospital_Senior_Dog_care

Our dogs won’t be young and energetic forever, and just as human needs change with age, our dogs’ needs and behavior changes as they age as well. If you’re dog is a senior citizen in dog years (past the age of 7), here are some behavioral and health-related changes to keep in mind:

Caring for your dog means more than treating problems as they arise. Preventive care is the most important component of healthcare in all of the life stages. At seven years most dogs are considered seniors. At this life stage changes in physical condition and behavior inevitably occur.

What signs should I look for in my senior dog?

• Change in water consumption
(especially an increase)
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Change in appetite • Change in weight
• Lethargy or depression • Bad breath or difficulty eating
• Change in urine production
(especially an increase)
• Lumps or bumps on the skin
• Constipation • Decreased hearing or vision
• Loss of housetraining • Stiffness or difficulty rising
• Change in attitude
(irritability or confusion)

What can my veterinarian do?

Gresham Animal Hospital recommends a Senior Wellness Program for all dogs over seven years of age. The non-invasive tests in the program help us care for your senior dog in two ways. First, this program can identify possible health problems before they become life-threatening. Early testing and detection of medical problems allows for a more favorable outcome, or prognosis, and more cost-effective options. Second, these tests will provide a baseline with which your veterinarian can measure changes should your dog become ill in the future.

Test

Frequency

Reason

Senior

Super Senior

Doctor Exam Every 12 months Every 6 months Detect early signs of disease such as periodontal disease, obesity, heart disease, cataracts, arthritis, and cancer
Blood tests Annually Every 6 months Identify liver, kidney, pancreatic and thyroid disease, anemia, and cancer
Urinalysis Every 12 months Every 12 months Identify kidney disease and failure, infections, and diabetes
Blood pressure measurement Annually Every 6 months High blood pressure may lead to strokes, eye, or kidney disease
Tonometry Annually Annually Screening for glaucoma
Baseline X-Rays/ECG Annually Annually Detects heart and lung disease, arrhythmias, enlarged organs, and cancer

The Goal of Senior Care

The goal of senior care is simple. We want to help you maintain the highest quality of life for your dog and thereby enhance the bond that we all share. Together, we can make the senior years the most rewarding years for you and your dog to share with each other.

If you have additional questions about what care Gresham Animal Hospital can provide for your senior dog, call us at 503.666.1600 or submit your information here.