Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Senior Dog Tips

senior dog

 Dog owners are often concerned about their aging dogs, and that is natural. However, all dogs doesn't become geriatric at any single age. It all depends on the adult size - often time determined by breed. We recommend the UC Davis Book of Dogs (published on October 25, 1995), which is the complete medical reference guide for dogs and puppies, authored by Mordecai Siegal, where you can get a more clear idea of when does your dog become geriatric. In his book, Siegal mentioned that small-breed dogs like small terriers become geriatric at the age of about 11 years; medium-sized dog breeds like larger spaniels become geriatric at an age of about 10 years, large breed like German Shepherd Dogs at about 8 years of age and and giant breeds like Great Danes become old at about 7 years of age. The famous AboutGermanShepherdDog.Com has come up with a FAQ Section for Senior Dog Care

However there are very few instances where dogs have lived for 24 years, 26 years and even 29 years. A few worth mentioning are:

Max (Terrier): Birth - 9 August 1983; Death - 18 May 2013; Life span - 29 years (United States) Bella (Labrador cross): Rescued as a puppy in 1982; Death - 6 September 2008 ; Life span - little less than 29 years (United Kingdom) Pusuke (Cross-breed): Birth - 1 April 1985; Death - 5 December 2011; Life span - 26 years (Japan) Adjutant (pure breed Labrador Retriever): Birth - 14 August 1936 ; Death - 20 November 1963; Life span 27 years (United Kingdom)

Age of a geriatric dog is often defined in terms of "human years" and "dog years". It is a popular myth that 1 human year means 7 dog years, and this has no scientific base, but just a belief that most dog owners have. There is no single and scientifically supported method of calculating the dog's age in comparison with the age of humans. However, alike humans the effects of aging in dogs are quite similar. Just like a 7 years old kid will be more energetic and playful than a 45 years old man, a puppy tends to show more agility and energy than a 8 years old dog.

Effects of aging in dogs
 
An aging dog will become physically less active and tend to sleep for a longer span of time, and eventually develop joint problems, leading to abnormal and slow movement. Aging dogs become more frequently and easily affected by environmental and climatic changes. Old age leads to dermal problems, digestive problems and mental infirmity (Senility). The most common effects of aging in dogs are as follows:

Hearing loss and even total impairment when the dog becomes too old
Vision loss and development of cataracts
Diminishing activity level
Developing joint problems like arthritis
Thickening of skin
Nails become thick and brittle
Gastrointestinal problems
Weakening of muscle
Weakening of teeth
Tumors and Mammary cysts in females
Heart murmurs
Distressed breathing
Lack of confidence (problem descending down the stairs, not eager to go to new places)
Disoriented movement

Working out a plan for treat and care for an aging dog is tougher really. An experienced veterinarian is the only best person to give you a proper guidance regarding care of an old dog. Any kind of experimentation with health and medication is highly discouraged. Remember that your dog may need a different health plan and treatment procedure.

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