The Senior Dog Checkup

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Today I’m barking about the impawtance of regular vet checkups for your senior good dog. As we age, regular exams become more important to keep us in peak health.

A complete blood count should be done twice a year once a dog has reached it’s senior years. This can detect slight changes in red & white blood cell counts that might be clues to an underlying condition. This test should also be done if your older dog is showing any sign of sickness such as a change in appetite.

A similar tests is a blood chemistry analysis. These tests will show how well the internal organs are functioning. A blood chemistry analysis will check liver enzymes, kidney function, blood protein levels & blood sugar count ( note: liver enzyme fluctuations can be triggered by stress, dehydration or eating, I’ll be barking more about this topic soon). These tests are key in early detection of organ failure or disease that may be  treatable if caught early.

A good dog’s thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism & energy levels. A Thyroxine screening can detect a common condition in dogs called hypothyroidism. It can cause lethargy, weight gain & poor fur & skin. Luckily it’s easy to treat with medication.

A urinalysis is just what it sounds like, an evaluation of pee. It can reveal a lot of information & can reveal conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, bladder stones & even certain cancers. This test should be done annually or if your good dog appears to be having difficulty peeing, peeing too often or if the pee smells bad or appears to have blood in it.

Finally, chest X-rays or Thoracic Radiographs can help your vet to evaluate the lungs & heart. Again, these tests can be key in early detection of an underlying condition such as heart disease, asthma, allergies & certain cancers.

We all slow down as we age, but sometimes the slowing down isn’t due to age. Working with your vet you can develop a regular screening program so that together you can ensure a healthy, comfortable life for your aging good dog.

Next week I’ll be barking about what you can do to keep your senior good dog happy & healthy.

CEO Olivia

When Is A Good Dog A Senior?

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Today I’m barking about when is a dog a senior. Depending on the size of dog, we actually age at different speeds with smaller dogs generally having longer life spans than bigger breeds. This is unusual to dogs, in nature the general rule is the larger the animal, the longer the life.

The later third of life is usually what we mean as a senior dog. For a large dog that could be as early as age four, while a chihuahua isn’t a senior until age 8 to 10 years. Trying to compare human years to dog years isn’t as easy as what some humans assume, that being one dog year is about seven human years. That one size fits all approach is inaccurate.

The reason why big dogs have short lives isn’t clearly understood. One theory speculates that larger dogs have a higher level of a growth hormone called IGF-1 which is associated in humans with increased risk of death from age-related diseases such as cancer or heart disease. But at the moment all we really know is big dogs simply age much faster than smaller dogs.

Veterinarians recommend starting geriatric checkups for small dogs around age 11, for medium-sized dogs at around age 9, & for large dogs around age 5.

As dogs enter the senior years, regular checkups become more impawtant to confront any concerns as early as possible. Mobility & cognitive abilities will decline as we age, but regular exams can determine what is normal aging & what may an underlying, treatable health issue.

Also as we age, we’ll need more support in the way of adding supplements & adjusting our lifestyle & diets. Both can help maintain & pawmote quality of life. We will come back to this in another blog.

Next week I’ll explain some of the tests recommended for senior dogs & why they are important as your good dog grows old.

Love & celebrate senior dogs everywhere,

CEO Olivia 💜

Good Dogs In Their Autumnal Years

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Lately, my huMom has been spending more time than usual with my fur sister Suzie Q. I’ve also noticed Suzie doesn’t pawtrol the entire yard with me anymore. She’s been getting more leg & neck massages which makes me a bit jealous. huMom tells me Suzie is very old now & I shouldn’t be jealous of her aches.

Just like anything, we dogs will decline as we grow old. Common health issues such as arthritis, hearing loss & cataracts can affect good dogs as they age.

When is a dog considered a senior? This month I’ll be barking about the autumnal years for good dogs. What changes to look for, both physical & mental.  I’ll dig into physical examinations & diagnostic testing for senior dogs that determine current health status & what pawventative health measures can be taken.

huMom told me she believes aging should be experienced with grace & dignity; that we should honor & love our seniors by putting their needs before ours.  She said, “It is our time to shine for them keeping them warm & safe in our brilliant love”.

CEO Olivia