The Senior and Geriatric Dog
As our dogs age, they need a different kind of care. Dogs usually end up needing to come to the vet more often because owners are finding new bumps and seeing changes that they want to have examined. This is a normal part of aging.
It is important to pay attention to changes that you see in your dog at any age, but it is even more vital once they get to be a senior. You may see more frequent or rapid changes in your dog’s health or behavior as he ages. This is a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. In addition to being more vigilant, we will help you by offering more comprehensive screenings
Comprehensive Health Screenings For Senior Dogs
Why do screenings need to be more comprehensive for senior dogs? As dogs age, we start to see more disease processes arise, and more comprehensive screenings help us diagnose problems earlier. This helps your veterinarian treat your dog earlier, hopefully staving off lasting damage and keeping them feeling well.
Caring for Your Senior Dog at Home
At Hill Country Animal Hospital, we believe that there is more to caring for dogs than just the medical aspect. As dogs age, they often require more care. We want you to know that if you are having difficulty with any part of caring for your dog, we can help. We want to provide you with options and tips to make your life and that of your dog easier. We will post links for things that may be helpful in caring for a senior or geriatric pet. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian or one of our technicians with questions you may have about senior and geriatric care at home.
Some things you may need help with as your dog ages are mobility, cognitive dysfunction, urinary incontinence, anxiety, and loss of sight and hearing. Fortunately, there are many products available that can help you deal with these issues. Please check out the items below and call us if you have questions.
Treating Your Dog’s Noise Phobia
If your dog has thunderstorm or firework phobias, we can help! We carry medications specifically designed to help dogs with noise phobia. Don’t let your dog suffer needlessly.
Grain-Free Food and Your Dog
We hear many questions about grain-free food. Please talk to your veterinarian before starting your dog on this kind of food. Studies have linked grain-free dog food to heart disease, and we recommend doing your homework before serving it to your pup. If you want a resource you can explore on your own, we recommend this page by Tufts University.
Items That Can Help if Your Dog Has Trouble Standing
- These are technically exercise peanuts, but if your dog is not very steady on his feet for grooming or cleaning at home, we recommend this product to help keep him balanced without needing to hold him up.
- Lift Harnesses can help dogs that have trouble standing or using their hind legs.
- Traction aids are available in many forms. Yoga mats and non-slip rugs can help if you have slippery floors. Products like Pawfriction or Show Foot can help provide stability for your dog’s paw pads.
- Ramps are a good option if your dog has trouble getting into or out of vehicles, or on and off of the couch or bed.
Dealing With Incontinence in Senior Dogs
It is also important to consider dental health from a younger age than you might think. When planning dental cleanings, many people waiIf your senior dog has incontinence and you find yourself cleaning him up regularly, invest in a wipe warmer to make your dog more comfortable during grooming.
There are numerous training pads on the market that you can use on floors to help dogs who cannot quite make it outside. Some of these pads are even washable. Use a waterproof crib mattress to cover your dog’s bed or pack and play mattress protector for your couch or bed.
Don’t forget dry shampoo and A&D ointment. A&D ointment helps prevent irritation caused by urine remaining on the skin for too long. We recommend this ointment if your dog uses diapers.
Help for Senior Dogs with Vision Loss
For vision loss, we recommend trying the Halo. This harness will allow your dog to explore his environment without running into things. For some dogs, this can help them regain their independence.
Giving Medication to your Senior Dog
If you have to give medication to your senior dog, try pill pockets. These work very well for disguising medications. In the event that your dog accidentally tastes the pill through the pocket, which can cause him to reject this method, a backup option is to use empty gelatin capsules to contain the pill, which will also mask the taste and scent. Wrapping a pill in cheese or simply leaving it in your dog’s food are also effective options.
For people with busy schedules, it can be challenging to remember to give chronic medication to your dog. Did you give him a pill today, or did your family member? You can use these med minders to keep track of this vital task.
Addressing Your Dog’s Anxiety
Sometimes senior and geriatric dogs become more anxious as they age. Fortunately, there are many products available that can ease this problem. Composure Treats, Adaptil, and even white noise machines can all make a difference. If these measures don’t deliver the results you need, ask your veterinarian if there are prescription options available. If you suspect that your dog may be anxious, but aren’t sure, please make an appointment so we can help.
We are here to see your dogs through from puppyhood to their golden years and want them to lead happy, healthy lives! Please give us a call for any questions or issues your dog faces, we will be happy to help.
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