Dogs Growing Older


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Thanks to modern veterinary care and scientifically formulated dog food, it’s not unlikely your dog could live to be 15 years or older. A breeder, vet or pet shop manager can tell you the typical lifespan of your particular breed, but in general, smaller breeds live longer than larger ones. With good medical attention, a sound diet and plenty of TLC, your dog can expect to join the canine equivalent of the Century Club!

 Dogs, cats and people age remarkably alike

As we age, we all become less active and lose muscle strength and bone mass. Our digestive processes slow down, taste buds become less sensitive, skin becomes dry and flaky, feelings of stiffness may creep into the joints and extra attention and loving care is quite welcome.

 What to watch for in your senior dogs

To begin with, watch his weight. Excessive weight puts undue stress on a dog’s heart, skeleton and other vital organs. If your dog exceeds his recommended weight, substitute MAX® Weight Control, NATURAL CHOICE® Lite, NATURAL CHOICE® Large Breed Weight Management or ULTRA™ Weight Management dog food for a portion of his daily diet to reduce calories. And remember: No table scraps!

 Visit the vet at least yearly

As your dog enters middle age — around 5 to 8, depending on the breed (or mix of breeds) — make sure he gets regular check-ups. The slightest health issue can become a major one if the pet is elderly.

 Make your games less strenuous

Dogs still love to play, but their hips and joints may be slightly arthritic (especially in certain breeds) and they may tire more easily. Keep an eye on their activity level; they’ll usually stop playing when they’re tired.

 Adjust your dog’s food for his life stage

At this point in your dog’s life, adjust his diet to maximize his overall health and well-being. If he ever has trouble chewing, report it to your vet; it could be an abscessed tooth or diseased gums. Regardless of the cause, mix the food with a bit of warm water to make soft, easy-to-chew mush.
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