Do You Have a Senior Pet?

Whether or not your pet is considered to be senior depends on their breed and size - a very large dog such as a Great Dane would be considered senior at 5 or 6, but a small dog like a Chihuahua isn’t a senior citizen until 10 or 11. 

When I adopted my two small dog rescues, they were both around 4 years old and had been rescued as moms with litters of puppies.  Of course, puppies are adopted very quickly, but the moms usually will take much longer to find a new home.  I was glad to be able to give them both a good home and now, 6 years later, I have two senior dogs.  I have to say it is more expensive to keep them healthy as each year goes by.   I have been lucky that there have been no major health issues – yet. 

What are you doing to help your senior dog?  Do you buy more expensive food?  The dog food industry spends a lot of advertising money trying to convince you that you should buy special dog food for your older dog but does it really make a difference?  Lots of answers and opinions on that question.  What do you think?

And what about vet care.  Are you taking your senior pet to the vet for tests and x-rays?  I have my two on a Wellness Plan with a local vet which basically lets me pay an amount every month something like a health savings plan.  It gives me 12 office visits a year, all the required annual shots and lots of other diagnostic services.  It’s not cheap, but in the end it does save me a little money and I don’t hesitate to take them in if I think there is a problem. 

What are some of the other things to expect as your dog ages? Your dog may develop arthritis or other degenerative diseases and may not be able to walk as far or play as long. He may tire more easily and have difficulty getting up or finding a comfortable position to sleep, be reluctant to go up and down stairs or have difficulty getting into and out of the car.  Della, my Beagle mix, has this problem diagnosed as arthritis.  The vet did x-rays and blood work that I might not have done if it wasn’t for the Wellness Plan I’m using.

Along with becoming less active with age, dogs can essentially become couch potatoes, and will gain weight as a result. Obesity is a major health issue in dogs of all ages and senior dogs are no different.  My Chihuahua Brownie constantly fights getting fat – or I should say I constantly fight her getting fat.  She would be very happy to eat everything in sight.

There are lots of other medical and dental problems that can come up with an older pet.  Tell us what are you doing to help your best friend senior dog as the years go by?