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Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, our dogs are living longer than ever before. While it’s wonderful to enjoy extra time with your pet, older dogs also face a host of health issues that they might not have experienced a generation or two ago. Older dogs face many of the same health problems that humans experience, including mobility restrictions due to arthritis and chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Our veterinarian in Edmonton, Alberta is committed to helping all dogs live a long, healthy and active life thanks to senior canine care.
The age at which your dog is considered to be a “senior” varies depending on your dog’s weight and breed. Larger breed dogs (50 pounds or more) tend to have shorter life spans and may be considered to be geriatric by the age of seven or eight. Small to medium-sized dogs live longer and are not considered geriatric until age nine or ten. On average, a typical lifespan may be between eight to twelve years, although some dogs can live longer or shorter lives. Nutrition, weight management, regular exercise and proactive veterinary care all play a role in helping dogs lead a long, active and healthy life.
Once your dog enters his golden years, our veterinarian recommends semi-annual exams to monitor your pet’s overall health. These exams will include a full physical, fecal sample screening, and diagnostic blood work. Since most dogs are experts at hiding the symptoms of illness, a full blood chemistry panel gives our veterinarian a “snapshot” of your pet’s internal health. Changes in white blood cell count or platelet counts could be indicative of a possible disease. The earlier we are able to detect these changes, the more our team can do to provide proactive treatment. Additionally, since an older dog’s immune system is not as strong as a younger dog, it cannot fight off diseases or heal as faster as a young pet can. Consequently, consistent parasite control and disease prevention through vaccination boosters is absolutely critical for your dog’s long-term health.
Diet and nutrition are two primary areas of concern for senior dogs. Older dogs often require foods that are more readily digestible and have lower calorie levels and anti-aging nutrients. Weight gain is common in older dogs, especially due to decreased activity level. Weight gain can lead to additional health problems, including increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Dogs that are overweight or obese may also experience more mobility difficulties and increased joint pain due to the greater pressure on their joints. If your dog has recently gained weight, our veterinarian can create a custom weight loss plan that ensures your dog receives a balanced diet and the right nutrients for his health needs.
With proactive senior canine care, our veterinarian in Edmonton will help your dog age gracefully into his or her golden years. Call us today to schedule your dog’s senior health exam!