As your dog ages, certain changes occur. There are two major areas of concern as your dog enters the twilight years. These include metabolic effects and physical effects. Both indicate the need for special treatment.
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As your dog ages, his or her metabolism slows down. The metabolic rate decreases. This is a natural aging process. When this combines with a lack of activity, including exercise, the need to absorb and use calories also decreases. As a result, your dog is subject to weight increases. To counteract this effect, you will need to adjust the caloric intake. You can accomplish this by switching to lite or lifestyle food. This will ensure the amount of food ingested matches the amount required to be healthy.
Adjusting the amount of food eaten daily will ensure the dog does not become fat or obese. Make sure you consult your Vet if you are considering a change in diet. Do not, however, make a change in dietary intake an excuse not to take your pet for a walk. Older dogs do require amounts of exercise. At this stage of life, you may reduce the strain and amounts, but never eliminate it. Exercise is a way of maintaining healthy bones, joints and movement capabilities.
The ability of your dog to competently fight off disease becomes compromised with increasing age. Your dog is a little more susceptible to various diseases and infections. While vaccines continue to defeat many types of health issues, certain problems remain. Do not place your dog in a stressful situation. This will increase the chance of them developing problems. If your pet receives a serious cut, be aware of the increased recovery rate. Avoid places and environments conducive to causal factors of diseases and illness.
Different physical changes occur as the pet’s body ages. These range from the obvious to the less overt. They are all part of the natural aging process. You cannot reverse them. You need to recognize them. You need to adjust to the alterations and make sure they have no negative impact on you and your dog’s relationship.
The skin of your elder canine is no longer as elastic as it was in the past. It is now thicker. The footpads and claws also change in flexibility, sensitivity and appearance. Claws are no brittle. Joints and muscles become stiff and knotty if the dog develops arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Some dogs have a genetic predisposition towards osteoarthritis. Check to see if this is true of your pet. While you cannot eliminate this problem, you can manage it. Adopt a system of appropriate exercise. Keep the weight of your dog under control. You do not need extra pounds straining the capabilities of joints. Medication may also help. In addition, you can consider various alternative treatments. These include visiting a chiropractor or using massage.
You may also notice teeth loss and gum problems. Gum retraction and gingivitis are possible. The dog’s teeth are often, by this time, blunter. Make sure there are not serious difficulties. Have your vet describe things to look for. You can avoid or reduce some of these problems through consistent dental hygiene. In other words, brush your dog’s teeth regularly. When he or she visits the vet, include a dental check-up.
There are many other possible physical problems to consider part of the reality of old age. Humans and pets share many of these common ailments. As the body ages, human of canine, it does exhibit various changes. A dog may suffer from incontinence or the prostrate may enlarge. The chance of cardiac enlargement increases. Some dogs become senile.
The extent of the difficulties depends upon many different factors. The breed of your dog, the size, gender and upbringing all affect the types and degree of health issues and physical problems. How you address the situation and treat your dog will also influence the outcome. You have an unwritten and unspoken contract with your dog. Live up to it.