The Village Vets, Dr Anthony Bennett and James Carroll, provide their top health tips when it comes to old dogs.
In dogs, we consider them to be a senior dog once they're over seven years of age (or 84 in human years), and in cats once they're over nine or ten years of age.
As dogs get older, they need to go to the vet more frequently and we'd recommend at least annually, to have a check up.
It doesn't always have to be for something, but they need a checkup and those check ups can become a little bit more involved as they get older so, blood tests and urine tests and so on to make sure everything is healthy inside.
Here are some of the more common problems:
- We commonly start to see more problems with their teeth, and it's important that we keep an eye on their oral health.
- We also see problems with their heart, so the first thing is to have a vet listen to their heart and then if anything else needs to be done then that can be done at the same time as the consultation.
- One of the most common things that we see are problems with the joints, and Bailey in particular has a lot of problems with her joints - she's quite arthritic.
- The nutritional requirements of an older dog change as well, so we tend to reduce the number of calories that they take on board and increase the fibre so they can pass faeces readily.
- As they get older, the conditions that they suffer from can become more sinister, so a lot of the more serious diagnoses start to be on the table, so we have to worry about things like cancer and their organs starting to fail.
It is really important as your pet ages that we make sure they have regular health checks, and if you find anything that crops up that's not normal, take them to the vet and get them checked out.