1. Establish a relationship with the best veterinarian you can find. Your vet should be someone whom you trust and in whose office you feel very comfortable. For most older dogs, it is advisable to make an appointment with the vet every six months. Read more….
2. Attend to your dog’s dental health. Brush teeth daily and have them cleaned professionally whenever your vet advises it. Read more…
3. Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; consider feeding him a home-prepared diet. Two small meals daily rather than one large one are better for an older dog’s digestion and to maintain energy throughout the day. Read more….
4. Don’t overfeed your dog. Obesity will create health problems and shorten his life.
5. Consider the use of dietary supplements and alternative therapies to optimize nutrition and to address health conditions (e.g., the supplement glucosamine chondroitin or acupuncture for arthritis).
6. Become informed about the conditions common to older dogs and the therapies used for them. Be alert to symptoms, bring them to your vet’s attention promptly, and be prepared to discuss treatment options. Read more….
7. Give your senior dog adequate exercise, adjusted to changing abilities that will occur over time.
8. Tell your vet you wish to have your dog vaccinated for rabies only once every three years, as currently advised by the major veterinary associations. Give other shots and medications (e.g., flea and tick control) only as absolutely necessary; avoid all that are optional. Remember: shots and medications are viewed by some veterinarians as an “income stream.” Read more….
9. Keep your dog and his environment extremely well groomed and clean.
10. Make your senior dog as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to provide walks, games, activities, happy events, petting, massage and lots of creature comforts.
(Of course, these ten tips also apply in large part to young dogs.)
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