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Looking After Your Dog, Part Eleven - Older Dogs
The advances in medicine and veterinarian competence have significantly improved the life expectancy of pets. And this entails a rather new aspect in canine care - how to care for older dogs. Since the life expectancy of dogs is typically 15-20 years, the transition from one life stage to another appears rather rapid to humans. You must recognize the signs of your dog getting old so that you can provide it the much needed extra care.
As with humans, aging in pets is a gradual process. It entails a gradual deterioration of organs, waning of sensory perception, and flagging of energy and strength. However, with a few precautionary measures and adjustments, you can keep your dog happy in the last years of its life.
The first signs of aging may appear at different times for different breeds. It also varies from one dog to another. A strong, healthy dog will probably age later than a dog that has constantly suffered from various ailments early in its life. The first sign of aging is a gradual decrease in the activity level, depicting loss of strength and energy. Older dogs have a tendency to sleep longer than usual and depict a loss of excitement for a long stroll or other fun games and activities.
Hearing impairment and a reduced visual acuity are a result of aging. Skin and coat, which once used to be lustrous and shiny, looks pale and rigid in older dogs. Oil producing sebaceous glands are weakened. Non-malignant tumors may appear under the skin, which are noticed when you rub your hand through your dog’s skin. The organs in older dogs lose their efficacy and the immune system is unable to ward off bacteria and viruses.
Although aging is an inevitable process, dog owners can delay its deteriorating effects through discreet canine care. Periodic visits to the veterinarian and administration of vaccines can help prevent common diseases. Annual checkups for intestinal parasites need be done. A nutritious diet is essential at all stages of a dog’s life. Therefore, you must purchase the best dog food available even if your dog has grown old.
Exercise is a must for dogs. Dogs with a protruding belly are more likely to fall ill and suffer the consequences of aging much earlier than a slim and active dog. Therefore, take your dog for a casual stroll and make it do a few exercises. This would help it stay agile and in shape even in the later years of its life.
There are many products now available that will help your dog, and you, enjoy her senior years.
About the Author: Niall Kennedy is a lifelong dog lover and has worked in several pet sanctuaries. Best Pet Health Information is a resource that brings you health information for older dogs. http://www.Best-Pet-Health.info.
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