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The Importance Of Regular Check Ups For Senior Pets

Seniors Pets Check UpsFor many pet owners it is difficult to tell if our pets are getting to the stage where they are slowing down because they are sick, or if it is just old age. To give you a good rule of thumb, a senior dog is around seven to eight years of age, and although many dogs live until they are twelve or even fifteen, you should be taking them for regular check ups from about the age of 8 years. In addition, many conditions and illnesses can start to show signs at this age, but also blood tests can reveal hidden conditions easily that you may not be aware of at this stage, so let us look at the importance of regular check ups, and some signs to look out for as your pet ages.

To give you an idea of the aging process of a dog, for every one of our years a dog would age around 6 to 8 years, so diseases associated with older humans, like diabetes, liver and heart problems can start to begin in a dog as early as six, occasionally earlier. Many health problems with dogs have visible signs to look for while other conditions can only be detected by blood tests, although even hidden diseases may be apparent by watching his behavior change. Having said that, another reason it is important for regular check ups for senior pets is because in many cases, the earlier a condition is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Things To Look Out For In Your Senior Pet

Take some time out each week to give your pet a good check up yourself, look out for any new lumps or bumps on his body as these may not be apparent just by looking, you have to feel for them, and sometimes lumps can turn cancerous, and spread throughout the body. Hip dysplasia is quite common in larger dogs, but can also be a problem for smaller dogs too, or they can suffer from sore and swollen joints. Sometimes there are obvious signs to look for, like his unwillingness to get up too often, or walk long distances due to the pain in the joints, or he may not be willing to climb stairs where before he may have run up them.

Quite a few older dogs can have poor eyesight, and some even end up going blind, and this is more common than you would think. Check on his eyes regularly, and report any abnormalities to your vet, a grey slightly milky look could be a sign of cataracts and if left alone can lead to blindness. Glaucoma can be another eye condition senior pets can develop, and red or sore eyes can be a sign of this. Therefore, in this case you should make an appointment with your vet to get this checked out, and discuss which treatment plan is best for him.

Heart, Lungs, Kidneys And Liver

Senior pets with a cough, breathlessness, decreased stamina, or a bloated stomach can be signs of cardiac issues and should be checked out, because as the heart ages it can develop a heart murmur or even a swollen heart. Similar signs could mean a lung disease like bronchitis or even pneumonia, especially if there is a cough present and there seems to be difficulty in breathing. A lack of appetite, nausea, and sometimes seizures can be a sign of a liver problem, because in senior pets the liver can malfunction and create a build up of toxins in the body.

Problems with kidneys are quite common in both dogs, and cats and there can be several signs to look for as a senior pet owner. Weight loss, excessive thirst, bad smelling breath and/or mouth ulcers can all be signs there is a kidney problem. Having said that, all the aforementioned conditions can be either treated, cured, or manageable for a better quality of life providing they are caught early, which is why it is so important to have regular vet check ups in senior pets.

Many life threatening conditions can plague our senior pets as they move toward their twilight years, and most of them can be detected either by a simple blood test, or urine sample. Early detection can be vital in the course of treatment, and whether or not he can be cured, or just make life easier and more comfortable for him, depending on the ailment or condition. Therefore, getting regular check ups for our senior pets is important, because catching a condition early enough for a cure can save you money further down the line, and lead to him having a much longer life too, so that you both can enjoy more years together easily.

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Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives

Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives - Paws at PeaceAfter spending more than a decade with our best friend, we know the inevitable is going to happen, but really don’t want to think about it. However, we still want what is best for him, and it’s still our job as a pet parent to take care of him the best we can and make him as comfortable as we can during his final year. The bond between a man’s best friend, and his owner often can’t be matched by anything else. Moreover, only you can know his preferences, dislikes, and favorite petting spots, whether it’s his ears or his belly. That being said, let us talk a bit more about other things that can make him more comfortable during this final phase of his life.

Many dogs in their last year of life prefer the quiet, so keeping him away from loud noises, or playing children may make him feel more secure at this time in his life. Also, at this point in time his joints may be aching, and he may even have arthritis, so it is important to make sure he has something soft to lay on, as hard floors will just make it worse. Talking to him in a soft tone, and petting him whenever he allows it will let him know that you still care about him, and that everything is going to be ok.

As he gets closer to his final days he may not be able to walk very far, so another thing you may want to consider is giving him his meals close to where he is most comfortable. Also, hydration is still important at this time of his life, so you should always keep a bowl of water close by, so he can take a drink whenever he needs one. Having said that, he may be at a stage where he can’t eat much solid food. Therefore, you may want to start giving him a liquid food, or mash his food up into a soup for him, so it is easier for him to digest.

Another thing that happens in the last days is he may have accidents, not being able to get outside quick enough for a bathroom break, so be sure to keep him in a place where it is easier to clean up any mess. Moreover, it is also important not to punish him at this late stage in life, it’s not his fault, just let him know everything is ok and don’t make a big thing about it, or it will just cause unnecessary stress. If he has a favorite food, a favorite toy, or even a favorite blanket, make sure all these things are around him or close by, so that he can see them, as this again will make him feel more secure.

It is also important to remember that at this point in their life pets cannot regulate their body temperature as well as they used to, so you may want to place a warm blanket over him if he shows signs of feeling cold. Some owners in the last days decide to sleep with their dog, either putting a makeshift bed by your dogs bed, or letting him sleep on your own bed, this can give him added comfort and security. If you can’t get time off work to be with him in his final days, try to get a good friend to sit with him, and maybe record some of his activity when you’re not there.

Finally, something that can often make senior pets feel more relaxed, and comfortable in their final days is soft music, and you can purchase music with just wildlife sounds, with birds singing and running water. Whatever method you choose to make your senior pet feel comfortable in their final year, it will surely let him know that you still care deeply for him, and that you are there for him just like he has been there for you for many years. Always be sure to take pictures, or video of your best friend, so you can look back and remember all the wonderful times you had together, and that he will always be in your heart, even when he’s passed on.

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Senior Dogs: Taking A Closer Look At Health Problems

Senior Dogs - Paws at Peace Pet HospiceDepending on the breed of dog you have really depends on the type of health conditions they may have in their older years. Although many will often have similar health problems as they approach their final years equally. Having said that, they are not that different from us when it comes to their senior years, developing poor eyesight, have less energy, putting on weight, and even becoming slower and turning grey. Almost half of dogs end up dying of cancer, which again many people suffer from, but here we will discuss the many health problems in senior dogs, so that you can see the early signs, and get any treatments that may be available, or needed just to help make your best friend comfortable for the conditions he may have. Therefore, read on to learn more.

The first outwardly seen signs of a senior dog is greying of the coat, usually starting around the muzzle, as well as becoming slightly less active. You may find he may not want to chase the ball, as much as he did in his earlier years, this is a sign he is slowing down, because he has less energy. This is also a time when he needs less fat, and more fiber in his diet, because the later years he will put on weight, and obesity is a very common problem among older dogs, so speak with your vet about diet change and maybe some supplements too.

Another health problem that can occur in older dogs is blindness, or their eyesight becoming very poorly. Therefore, it is recommended if this is the case not to rearrange furniture, because many dogs can navigate their way around familiar places, if everything is as it was when their eyesight was good. This is also the time that arthritis can set in, and although there is no cure for this, there are medications that can ease pain and make it a little easier to live with. Along with arthritis there may be joint pain, which may lead to him being less responsive to petting, sometimes even getting agitated or even annoyed. In addition, he may seem to be off his food, and just like us when we just sometimes want to be left alone when we are in pain, he may react in the same manner.

With that said, it is also common, especially in older dogs, to develop calluses, usually on their elbows, and this is, in part, due to them spending more time laying down. Keeping that in mind, if he is laying on a hard surface, it may be wise to provide him with a soft bed, and they do sell orthopedic beds now for dogs, which will help prevent the calluses from worsening. Moreover, as the dog gets older, their nails can become brittle, so you need to be especially careful when clipping them, and you may have to clip his nails more frequently due to the fact that he is not as active, and won’t wear them down so much naturally.

At this point in their life, it is important to keep up on their vaccinations, because older dogs are more prone to illness, and disease than younger dogs due to their immune system not functioning as effectively as it did in his earlier years. Dental disease is another common problem among senior dogs. Therefore, one should brush their teeth regularly, because dental issues can lead to more complicated diseases later on. Also, if a senior dog does get an infection, or sickness he will more than likely take much longer to get over it then when he was younger.

Other health problems that can arise in senior dogs are respiratory problems due to their lung capacity being decreased, and they may tire much quicker. There may also be a decrease in their liver, and kidney function. However, there are tests for this, and certain treatments are available if caught early. Temperature changes may also effect them differently, because they can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively like when they were younger. Therefore, he may be more prone to feeling the cold, or hot temperatures during the cold and hot months.

There are many health problems in senior dogs that can show up, and not all dogs will get all of them, as each dog breed is different, and there are many senior dogs that are quite healthy until the very end. Being aware of possible health problems means that you can sometimes catch them early enough to either treat them, or give them medication to ease any pain. Having said that, if you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, don’t just put it down to old age as it may be medical and treatable. Finally, always pay a visit to your vet if you feel something is not right, as it’s always best to err on the side of caution to help ensure your best friend stays health especially in their senior years.

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