Dogs older than seven years of age are considered senior pets. Senior dogs are in the stage of life in which the aging process is beginning to affect every organ system. Some organs “wear out” faster or are more susceptible to cumulative damage than others, so certain observations are especially important to make. The following is a list of key recommendations that we feel are important for older dogs.
“You should take your senior dog to the veterinarian at least once a year for an annual check-up.”
You should take your senior dog to the veterinarian at least once a year for an annual check-up. It is very important to have your veterinarian examine your dog if you notice for any of the following:
1. Sustained significant increase in water consumption. (normal water intake should be less than 100 ml/kg/day or approximately 1 ½ cups (12 ounces)/day for a 10 pound dog)
2. Sustained significant increase in urination.
3. Weight loss.
4. Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than two consecutive days.
5. Significant increase in appetite.
6. Repeated vomiting.
7. Diarrhea that lasts over three days.
8. Difficulty in passing stool or urine.
9. Sudden loss of housetraining.
10. Lameness that lasts more than three days, or lameness in more than one leg.
11. Noticeable decrease in vision, especially if sudden in onset or pupils that do not constrict in bright light.
12. Masses, ulcerations (open sores), or multiple scabs on the skin that persist more than one week.
13. Foul mouth odor or drooling that lasts over two days.
14. Increasing size of the abdomen.
15. Increasing inactivity or amount of time spent sleeping.
16. Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching, or if the loss is in specific areas (as opposed to generalized).
17. Persistent coughing or gagging.
18. Excessive panting.
19. Sudden collapse or bouts of weakness.
20. Inability to chew dry food.
21. A seizure (convulsion or “fit”).