Most dog owners consider Fido a part of the family and want him to live a long, healthy life. Dogs, just like humans, need special care once they become seniors. Generally, dogs are considered in the senior stage of life at 7 years old, but how your dog ages will vary depending on what breed it is. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips to help you make your dog's golden years happy and healthy.
Pay attention to change. Older dogs have predictable routines and behaviors, so any change in behavior, activity, weight, eating and bathroom habits could be a sign that something is wrong. Be observant of any changes and go see your veterinarian to rule out any developing conditions.
Well visits. Because dogs age faster than humans, early detection of age-related problems is key to keeping your senior dog happy and healthy. Have your elderly dog examined by your veterinarian every six months. These regular exams will help you catch any age-related illnesses before they become too advanced.
Make your home senior-friendly. As Fido ages, he'll become less agile than he used to be. Smaller dogs may have trouble jumping onto or off of furniture, and larger dogs may have trouble getting in and out of cars. Set up carpet-lined steps or a ramp to help your dog do the simple things he used to do in a safe and comfortable way.
For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit www.akc.org.