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Dogs and Old Age, How To Care For Your Aging Canine

Now that you're dog has shown you so much love andbrought you so much joy throughout your many yearstogether, it's time that you return the favor when the dogreaches his elder years. Caring for an older dog is much likecaring for an elderly person. Knowing how to do that willhelp comfort your dog immensely.

What's old for a dog?

The first thing that you've probably heard is the seven-yearrule (that your dog ages seven times faster than a human).While this is pretty much accurate, some dogs (or breeds ofdogs) show signs of aging earlier than others. So, you'regoing to have to know what signs to look for to ascertainwhether your dog has officially reached his "golden years."

Senility is not just for humans.

If your dog is older than seven (human years), then he'sofficially becoming older. While some dogs may show signsfar after seven, you may notice some of the followingcharacteristics once he reaches an older age. You may noticethat your dog has lost some of his housetraining skills. Hemay soil or wet the area, especially through the night whenlying down. He may have trouble chewing food due to looseteeth and sore gums. He may suffer from cataracts or evenpartial or full blindness. He may gain weight more easily.Weigh your dog every couple of months. If you notice largelumps under his skin, it's advised that you consult yourveterinarian, as this may be a sign of a possible tumor orcancer. Your dog may even become grumpier.

While it's impossible to cure all of the maladies thataccompany age, you can comfort your dog and make hisolder life enjoyable.

Medication can help

There are many drugs out there that can help your dog.While it's not advised to give your pet too manymedications, there are some that can help if he's sufferingjoint or hip pain. If your dog seems extra tired or sore oneday, go ahead and skip his daily exercise routine. If it lastmore than a couple of days, talk with your vet. Install apartial ramp over the steps to and from your house so thatyour dog doesn't have to deal with the harsh incline on hisjoints. Massage and rub your dog's muscles. Studies haveshown that physio- or hydrotherapy can be extremelybeneficial in your dog's elder years.

Grooming offers relief

Be sure to clip your older dog's nails as he probably doesn'trun about as much as when he was younger. The nails won'tnaturally keep trimmed down, so you'll have to be sure tokeep his nails under control. If you don't want to do ityourself, veterinarians usually provide this service.Your dog may become senile. While this is normal, somecases are so severe that they are compared to Alzheimer's.There are dog drugs, like those given to human Alzheimer'spatents that have proven effective.

Routines are welcome

Be sure that you keep your dog on a regular routine.Exercise him daily. Control his weight. Buy high-qualityfood and groom, pet and cuddle with your dog frequently.Visit your vet at least once a year to screen for diseases. Buyan orthopedic bed mat for your older dog.

Disabilities can occur

If your dog is blind or nearly there, you can make a homesolution of vinegar mixed with water to spray (about nosehigh) onto door frames and sofas so he doesn't run intothem. Also, don't move furniture around. For deaf dogs, telleveryone (especially children), not to approach your dog tooquickly. Be sure that the dog sees anyone coming towardshim.

Caring for an older dog can be just as hard as caring for apuppy. Your dog will take kindly to the adaptations you'vemade, which will make his "golden years" truly shine.

About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

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