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Helping Your Dog Age Gracefully

Most of us who own pets want then to live a long, healthy life. Our pets do need special care, especially when they become seniors. Dogs enter their senior stage of life at around seven years old. This will depend a lot on what breed you have, from purebred dogs to All-American dogs.

Pay attention to changes that you notice in your dog. You may see changes in appetite, behaviors, weight gain or weight loss, or bathroom habits. If you notice a change, always contact your veterinarian. Dogs over the age of seven years should see their vet 2 times a year for wellness visits.

Feeding your aging dog becomes more important. As activity levels decrease, the need for food should also be addressed. If you feed your pet food that has grain as the first ingredient, please check for another food. Before our pets became domesticated they lived in the wild. They ate raw meats, vegetables, and when available, fruit. The amount of food that we feed our dogs is also too much. I have two Shetland sheepdogs, and they get fed two times a day. They both get ¼ cup per feeding. They weigh around 20 pounds each. If treats are given daily, this should be subtracted from the dog’s food allowance. The treats maybe nice, but they are unnecessary calories and only add weight.

Exercise is also important in the golden years. Just remember, make sure that the dog is up for it. If you notice that your dog is not getting up as fast, or can’t jump on your bed like he or she used to, there are things that you can do. Make steps or ramps that have carpeting on them to assist your pet.

That puppy that you brought home that was so full of energy is still in your senior dog. By keeping your faithful companion healthy, you will enjoy the golden years with man’s best friend.

Barbara Adams
Senior Personal Lines Claim Representative

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