In addition to promoting awareness about pet cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, FETCH a Cure is committed to making people aware about senior pet care and aging issues. Several Board members and staff at FETCH a Cure own “senior” dogs. The unofficial office dog is Dudley, a much loved sixteen and a half year old Jack Russell terrier who is blind and deaf.
What makes a dog a senior? Generally, dogs seven and up are considered seniors, but it depends on the size and breed of the dog. Small dogs might be considered seniors at age ten to twelve. Larger dogs might be considered seniors at age six to eight.
What are some things to be concerned about as your dog ages? Contact your veterinarian if you see any weight loss or weight gain or changes in eating or drinking habits. Keep an eye out for new lumps and bumps, sores that don’t heal, and any blood or discharge. Tell your veterinarian if your dog seems out of it or confused. Finally, let your vet know if the dog is having trouble going to the bathroom, breathing, or getting around. Some of these symptoms could be signs of aging, but they could also be indicative of an underlying health problem.
What can you do to make your old friend more comfortable? Think about buying an orthopedic bed. Invest in high quality dog food specially formulated for senior dogs. Consider taking your dog to the veterinarian twice a year instead of once a year to see if they notice any changes in health that are significant. Let your dog direct you in activity level. Your dog may still enjoy playing, walking and running, but you may need to shorten walks or go a little slower.
Most of all, cherish every moment with your buddy. It goes by fast.