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Keep Close Tabs
Outdoor, free-roaming pets generally
have shorter lives than indoor animals.
Keep dogs on leashes or in fenced
Monitor the Environment
Keep trash and poisons out of a pet’s
reach. Ingesting even a small amount of
toxic substances, such as antifreeze, rat
poison or slug bait, can cause serious
illness or death.
Provide Good Nutrition
Feed your dog a high-quality, low-fat,
high-fiber diet and minimize treats. Dis-
cuss the merits of senior-formula food
How to Keep a
with your vet.
Dog Forever Young
Encourage Daily Exercise
Exercise strengthens joints and muscles,
provides mental stimulation and helps
maintain a healthy body weight.
by Debra A. Primovic
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Spaying and neu-
o pet lovers, the disparity be- the teeth, heart and lungs, abdominal
tering reduce the
tween human and canine life palpation and inspection of the ears
risk of potential
spans seems unfair. Efforts to help and eyes. Monitoring weight, checking
health problems
dogs stay healthy not only keeps them for parasites, blood work and urine tests
related to the
around longer, but pays dividends in are often recommended. Any symptoms
reproductive or-
also keeping them in as youthful shape of concern may require additional tests.
gans and dimin-
as possible.
ish the desire to
Watch for Illness
wander, which lessens the chance of
Know When Your Pet is “Old”
Because dogs are good at hiding illness
being hit by cars.
According to Dr. Johnny Hoskins, in until it is too late, regular home exams
Geriatrics and Gerontology of the Dog are vital. Be alert to such things as
Offer Mental Stimulation
and Cat, the canine age that qualifies changes in water consumption, urina-
Provide your dog with toys, games and
as senior depends largely on the breed tion patterns and activity levels; poor
quality time. Most pets are never too
and size. This veterinarian notes that appetite; weight gain or loss; coughing
old to play, and it’s never too late to
dogs weighing less than 20 pounds are or difficulty breathing; vomiting or diar-
teach old dogs new tricks.
seniors at nine to 13 years, while giant rhea; and skin lumps or masses. If you
Following these 10 tips will go far
dogs of 90 pounds or more are oldsters suspect a problem, don’t delay—get
in keeping a well-favored canine com-
between six and nine years. Smaller your vet’s evaluation.
panion forever young.
breeds usually live longer.
Control Your
Debra A. Primovic, a doctor of veteri-
Schedule Regular
Dog’s Weight nary medicine, also holds a bachelor’s
Wellness Exams
Obesity stresses the heart,
of science degree in nursing. She works
Comprehensive geriatric which can lead to problems
as a staff veterinarian at the St. Louis
exams help identify early in the brain, lungs, liver
Animal Emergency Clinic, in Missouri,
diseases or other problems. and kidneys. Over time, life-
and serves as managing editor of
Include an evaluation of threatening conditions can, an online resource for
pet health and wellness.
32 Oakland, Macomb, Livingston & St. Clair, MI
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