Senior Dog Care at West Hills North Veterinary Clinic
There’s something extra special about a senior dog. Whether they seem more appreciative of their soft bed or a friendly pat on the head, or stopping more often on their usual strolls to smell the proverbial roses, they capture our hearts more every year that passes.
With a focus on wellness and preventive care, the doctors and staff of West Hills North Veterinary Clinic are here to help you and your beloved dog through every life stage, and to support you when your dog reaches their senior years. Like humans, dogs are prone to illness and health conditions as they age, but many of these problems are manageable with medication, treatments, and careful monitoring. Education about senior dog challenges, diseases and observation can be a huge help in keeping your dog happy, healthy, and comfortable through their golden years.
Age-related diseases and chronic illnesses are a part of living with an older dog. Early diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses is critical to your dog’s long-term health and quality of life. Many conditions can be prevented from progressing into more serious illnesses when detected early and managed properly. Once symptoms appear, the conditions may be too difficult or costly to diagnose and treat. Our goal is for you and your dog to enjoy the longest, healthiest life together. For this reason, we recommend a comprehensive exam at least every 6 months for your senior dog. We also recommend routine annual blood tests and urinalysis for our senior patients so that we can detect conditions early, when intervention is most effective.
Signs of Aging
Because dogs age more rapidly than people, dramatic changes in health can occur in as little as 3 to 6 months. If you notice any of the following signs, we recommend that you call our office to schedule an appointment for an exam.
- Weight loss
- Decrease in appetite
- Bad breath or drooling
- Increased appetite, especially if accompanied by weight loss
- Excess urination
- Increased water intake
- Reduced exercise, increased stiffness, trouble jumping or walking
- Apparent pain when your dog moves or is handled
- Any vomiting, abnormal stool or decreased frequency of bowel movements
- A new lump or growth, especially if it appears to increase in size quickly
- Bloated abdomen
- Depression or listless behavior
- Excessive panting
- Heavy or rapid breathing when resting
Senior Dog Care at Home
In addition to the care we provide for your dog here at West Hills North Veterinary Clinic, there are measures you can take at home to keep your senior dog happy and healthy. As your dog gets older, it is important to minimize stress with a comfortable lifestyle. There are many ways to make small adjustments in your dog’s life to keep them comfy as they age. For instance, adding additional bedding gives their aging joints a soft place to rest. A ramp to assist your dog in getting into the car or up the stairs will allow them to go all the places they usually do with less stress on their body. Make it easier for them to get to their favorite places and avoid unexpected falls by adding steps or platforms to help them get where they need to go.
A proper diet and plenty of exercise can also help your senior dog stay healthy and keep their spirits up. This will help your dog maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of conditions such as arthritis and diabetes. Regular play and exercise will also keep their mind sharp and strengthen the bond you share with your special friend!
The entire staff at West Hills North Veterinary Clinic is here to help you and your dog through every life stage. Please contact us today to schedule your dog’s senior wellness exam and to discuss any questions you have about your dog’s healthcare.