If you follow these ten tips, you’ll be doing a great job of maintaining your senior dog’s good health. Each tip is expanded in a separate page or pages. Click on the link with each numbered item.
Number One: Your dog’s health depends on your finding an excellent veterinarian — someone whom you trust and in whose office you feel very comfortable. For senior dogs, it is advisable to make an appointment with the vet every six months. Finding a Veterinarian….
Number Two: Attend to your dog’s dental health. Brush teeth daily and have them cleaned professionally whenever your vet advises it. Untreated dental disease can lead to bacterial infection that can migrate to your dog’s vital organs. See Dental Health….
Number Three: Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; consult your veterinarian and do some research. Two small meals daily rather than one large one are better for an older dog’s digestion and to maintain energy throughout the day. See Nutrition….
Number Four: Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Excess weight/obsesity can create very serious health problems and shorten his life. See Avoiding Obesity…..
Number Five: Consider the use of dietary supplements and alternative therapies to optimize nutrition and to address health conditions (e.g., the supplement glucosamine chondroitin for arthritis; EFAs [essential fatty acids] for general good health and vitality; acupuncture for pain). See Alternative Veterinary Medicine…..
Number Six: Become informed about signs or symptoms that might indicate a need for veterinary attention or adjustments in the dog’s environment. Be prepared to bring these to your vet’s attention promptly, and be prepared to discuss treatment options. See Being Observant…..
Number Seven: Give your senior dog adequate exercise, adjusted to changing abilities that will occur over time. See Exercise…..
Number Eight: Manage medications by understanding benefits vs. risks, reading labels, and following instructions for administering them . Tell your vet you want to avoid optional vaccinations. Give other shots and medications (e.g., flea and tick control) only as absolutely necessary; avoid all that are optional. You should feel free to raise questions with your veterinarian about the necessity or requirement for any medication or vaccinations being recommended. Read more at Vaccinations…. and Medications….. and Rimadyl and Other NSAIDs…. and Pain Management Alternatives…..
Number Nine: Keep your dog and his environment extremely well groomed and clean. See Grooming and Environment….
Number Ten: Engage with your senior dog during your day every day. Make your senior dog as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to provide daily walks, games, car rides, happy events, petting, massage and lots of creature comforts. Of course, if you’ve read this far on this page, you probably don’t need this tip. For more ideas, see the Lifestyle page.
For a chart that summarizes these ten health tips, click here.