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10 things you need to know about caring for your senior dog

Changing Diet. Senior dogs have different metaboli, immuninological, and activity levels than younger pups, and their nutritional intake should reflect that.

More Vet Visits. Regular checkups are always important, but as your dog gets up there in years, your visits should increase from annual to once every six months.

Brush Your Teeth! Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is important at any age, but especially as he gets older, since plaque and tartar buildup over time can lead to some serious health issues.

Watch the old girls weight. Extra pounds can put extra stress on a senior dog’s joints and internal organs. Being overweight can also put her at higher risk for things like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Exercise is Still Important. Dogs need regular exercise at any age, for both physical and mental health.

Mental Stimulation is Just as Important. Hide treats or a favorite toy and play 'find it'.

Watch for Changes in Health and Behavior. My doggie Rusty was recently diagnosed with Cushings. I thought his weight gain and reduced activity level was just old age. No matter what the change, don't assume it is related to old age.

Changes, for you and your beloved doggie. Your doggie may have to go out to go potty more often, or even have accidents in your home. He may sleep longer and reduce his engagement level. Give him extra care, love and attention!

Make Adjustments to your home. Make sure your dog has a cozy, comfortable place to sleep as older dogs need extra warmth and orthopedic support. A ramp can help her get upstairs and downstairs, or you could move her bed downstairs so she doesn’t need to make the climb at all. Rugs and mats can help her gain traction on slippery surfaces like the kitchen floor where she eats his dinner. If her eyesight is poor, keep her gated away from stairs and doors and clear the floors of any clutter.

Cherish the Heck Out of These Years!

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