Care of an older dog.



Some of the smaller breeds live to fifteen or sixteen years.  Some even longer.  But dogs of  medium size usually age very noticeably by the time they are eleven or twelve.  The very large, giant breeds usually only live to the age of eight or nine, but of course there are exceptions.


The older dog will find it difficult to cope with  changes in  weather temperature,  either extreme cold or  great heat so allowances will have to be made in his sleeping conditions.

Also his bedding should be softer and more comfortable than  before.


Care of the teeth is also a problem with older dogs.   The condition of teeth deteriorates with age.   Allowances  should be made with the food that is given to him. If you have in the habit of giving him meat it might be necessary to cut it into smaller pieces.


It will also be helpful to increase the number of times you feed him a day.  Make sure that he has a lot of liquid.   With regard to exercise, this also should be reduced if he shows signs of discomfort from arthritis.   Stair climbing might present a problem for him as he grows older so this will also have to be taken into account.


Constipation  may also present a problem with an older dog.  If you see any evidence of straining it would be wise to give him a small amount of  milk of magnesia.  The quantity to be given will depend on his size and weight.


If you happen to have more than one dog, both males, another   problem you may encounter is that  the younger one, who might have been quite prepared to be subservient to the older dog, might now try and assert himself.   As a result scuffles might break out and the older dog will no longer be strong enough to assert himself.


 This situation is   rare, because a dog who has been the accepted leader for most of his life is usually respected by the younger dogs even when he old and frail.   Nevertheless it does happen and you should be aware of possible problems.