When Your Senior Dog Needs to See a Vet

Senior dogs should ideally get routine twice-yearly veterinary exams. Small changes in behavior can be normal, however there are certain symptoms that should concern you.

If you notice any of the symptoms detailed in this article you should report them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Any one or more of the following symptoms could be caused by a range of minor or major illnesses.

Remember, it’s not your job to diagnose the disorder. It’s your job to observe your dog, evaluate all of his bodily functions and report his symptoms to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your dog is having severe symptoms such as struggling to breathe or loses consciousness, take him to your veterinarian immediately.

Your Senior Dog Needs to See a Vet When He…

Drinks water or urinates more often than usual 1)Loses weight 2)Is unusually hungry 3)Vomits repeatedly 4)Has diarrhea lasting for more than three days 5)Finds it difficult to pass stool or urine 6)Forgets his housebreaking habits 7)Exhibits lameness for more than 5 days or in more than one leg 8)Has trouble seeing 9)Develops open sores on the skin that persist for more than one week 10)Develops a foul mouth odor or drools excessively 11)Appears to gain weight only in his abdomen 12)Spends more time than usual sleeping or gazing into space 13)Loses hair or scratches, especially if only in specific areas 14)Pants excessively 15)Is unable to chew dry food 16)Collapses suddenly or has a bout of weakness 17)Has a seizure (convulsion) 18)Coughs persistently or gags often 19)Has bleeding from the mouth, nose or rectum 20)Has a significant decrease in appetite or doesn’t eat for more than two days

All dogs should receive routine vaccinations as required by law (rabies) and vaccines that are appropriate for individual needs. Specific vaccines and frequency of administration may vary, and should be discussed with your veterinarian. Treating an older dog depends on the individual requirements or problems of your pet. The most common problems of geriatric dogs are:

Nutritional issues – managing obesity or special needs Dental disease Arthritis Metabolic disease Endocrine disorders Cardiac disease Skin tumors Urinary problems Prostate disease in intact male dogs Cancer Behavioral and cognitive dysfunction

Home Care and Prevention A periodic inspection of your pet, at home, may uncover potential problems. Make sure that your pet has clean, warm and protected living conditions, and provide easy access to clean fresh water.

Feed a good quality dog food that is appropriate for your dog’s specific needs, and do not allow your pet to gain excessive weight. Discuss unexpected weight gain with your veterinarian. Based on a complete geriatric work-up a prescription dog food might be advised. Groom your pet and, if possible, brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Finally, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations as to exercise, nutrition and any medications that may be needed.

Dog Trainer www.aikendogtraining.com julie@aikendogtraining.com Tel:949-371-3912

Alex Tamaki

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Owner, Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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