Hours of Operation
Weekend: Saturday Noon -
7:00AM Monday morning
Holidays: Open 24 hours
Pet Emergency: What to Do
- Stay Calm
- Call (727) 786-5755
- Be prepared with info:
- Details of problem
- Any changes
- Be aware. Pets may bite if ill or injured.
Location30610 US Highway 19 N,
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
One block north of Curlew Road on the west side Please call ahead for advice and so we can prepare your arrival.
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Caring for Your Senior Dog
Just like humans, as dogs get older they may require special care. You may not notice that their needs are different right away, so how can you be sure that your dog needs senior care?
It varies from breed to breed and dog to dog. Giant breed dogs, like a Great Dane, would be considered a senior when they reach 5-6 years old. On the other hand, a smaller dog like a Chihuahua, would be considered a senior pet at around 10-11 years old. Large dogs, like Golden Retrievers and Labradors, fall somewhere in the middle at around 8-10 years.
As your pet reaches this point in their life, he or she may develop arthritis or other degenerative diseases that cause them to slow down. They may not be able to walk or run as far as they used to, or play for as long. Your pet may also be hesitant to climb stairs, and have a hard time getting comfortable.
At this age, dental disease can also cause health problems. This issue is common among pets of all ages, sometimes discovered in dogs that are only 2 to 3 years old. This can be prevented, but if nothing is done to care for your pet’s mouth, they may even lose some teeth by the time they enter their senior stage in life. And, as we all know, any kind of dental problems can be extremely painful. In your pet’s case, dental disease can make it hard to eat, resulting in weight loss and a poorly kept coat.
Aside from dental issues, senior pets can also suffer from liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, and other conditions that can result in weight loss.
And, on the other end of the spectrum, senior dogs can become extremely lazy – gaining weight as a result. Obesity can become a major problem for pets of all shapes and sizes.
But, what can you do to help your pet avoid any preventable health issues?
Visit your veterinarian regularly. Regular checkups can identify health issues that may not be obvious to you. After all, it’s much easier to avoid health problems than it is to fix them.
Ask for a body condition evaluation at each visit. Making sure your pet is not considered over or underweight is essential for ensuring their health for years to come. While at your vet’s office, you can also ask that they show you how to properly evaluate your pet’s body condition at home.
Feed your pet high-quality food. Educate yourself on how to read a dog food label, and make sure your dog’s diet is appropriate for their age and lifestyle. This guide can help you understand what the ingredients mean in your pet’s food.
Use food to keep your dog at a healthy weight. Evidence proves that overweight pets are more likely to be diagnosed with diseases like diabetes, heart disease, skin disease, and even cancer. Ask your vet for help choosing an appropriate diet for your dog, especially since overweight dogs must be fed carefully to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need while dropping pounds.
Think about fortifying your senior pet’s diet with fatty acids. Supplements like DHA and EPA have been shown to improve the quality of life for senior pets with mobility issues caused by arthritis and other joint diseases. Experts also recommend supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.
Don’t overlook your dog’s dental health. Brushing your dog’s teeth may seem silly, but it can help keep their mouth healthy and free of harmful bacteria. If brushing your pet’s teeth isn’t realistic, consider giving them dental treats or toys that can assist in maintaining their oral health.
Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. Doing so can help keep your pet lean, while maintaining healthy joints and muscles. But, make sure you customize your dog’s exercise regimen to fit his needs. For instance, for a larger dog a quick walk around the block is just the tip of the iceberg; but, for a Chihuahua or similar small breed, a quick walk could be quite the trek. Additionally, if your senior dog isn’t used to exercising, start them off slow and gradually increase the intensity. Also, you should make sure to consult your veterinarian before starting a new regimen. And be mindful of the weather, as breeds with shorter noses can have a hard time on hot days.
Keep your senior dog busy with plenty of toys. Not only will a food puzzle exercise their mind, it can help them lose weight since they’re unable to quickly consume large amounts of food.
Do your best to keep your pet comfortable. Some older dogs might require special accommodations, like a soft dog bed or towels and blankets to sleep on if they’re unable to reach higher surfaces without assistance. Ramps could also be used to make stairs easier to navigate when there’s no other option. Even adding some carpet or rugs over hard flooring can make it easier for your elderly dog to gain their footing and make his or her way around your home.
The information provided on this site is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional care from your veterinarian.