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Aging and your dog

'If it should be that I grow weak and pain should keep me from my sleep. Then you must do what must be done, for the last battle can't be won. You will be sad - I understand, don't let this grief stay in your hand. For this day, more then all the rest, your love for me must stand the test. We've had so many happy times, what has to come can hold no fears. You'd not want me to suffer, so the time has come, please let me go. Take me where my needs they'll tend, and please stay with me to the end. Hold me firm and speak with me, until my eyes no longer see. I know that in time you will see the kindness that you did for me. Although my tail its last has waved, from pain and suffering I've been saved. Please do not grieve. It must be you who has this painful thing to do. We've been so close, we two, these years, don't let your heart hold back its tears.'
Author Anonymous.

Exactly how old is my dog? How can I figure out my dog's age in human years?  This graph will help you figure out your companion's dog years.

dog years in comparison to human years

 

Veterinarians consider small dogs to be senior citizens at about 12 years of age, while large dogs reach the senior stage at 6 to 8 years of age.

What are the signs of aging and what should you do about them? One of the first signs of aging is slowing down. It will take your dog longer to get up and get started from a lying position, longer to climb stairs. Some of these changes are natural, but it is important not to overlook changes that may be symptoms of a condition needing treatment.

Never assume that a change in behavior or habits is simply due to old age; it may be due to a treatable condition

Some vets advise semi-annual visits once your dog becomes a senior. An annual visit is an absolute minimum (remember, a year in your dog's life is akin to about five of your own years). In between visits to the vet and annual geriatric screenings, you can stay alert to behavioral changes and other signs of aging.

Here are some things to watch for and action to take:

Sudden loss of weight;
Serious loss of appetite;
Increase in appetite without increase in weight;
Diarrhea or vomiting;
Increased thirst without a change in activity level;
Being excessively out of breath after minimal exercise;
Coughing and excessive panting;
Difficulty in getting up from a lying position;
Problems with vision and hearing;

Behavioral changes that you may see in your older dog include:

Separation anxiety;
Sensitivity to noise;
Vocalizing;
Uncharacteristic aggression;
Confusion, disorientation;
Elimination accidents.

If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms talk to your vet.

To help keeping your aging dog healthy:

- keep his weight down using good nutrition and regular exercise
- keep his teeth clean
- visit the vet for regular check-ups
- be vigilant about sudden changes in habits or behavior which may indicate an underlying      health problem.

 

 

 


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About Your Dog, is your online ressource of articles on puppy and dog health, dog training and information about your pet dog