Category Archives: Caring for your dog

Late in Life Health and Your Dog 

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Old labrador retriever.Dogs are not just a fifteen-or-so-year commitment; a true canine companion remains with you for a lifetime. There will come a time, however, when they must age. Though we can’t stop the death of your pet, we can help keep them as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

As your dog ages, it becomes more and more important to have them examined regularly, and take preventative measures for their health. It’s also essential to watch out for some common issues in elderly dogs:

Arthritis: Like humans, dog joints wear over time. Canine arthritis is not uncommon in older dogs. When it hits, your dog may slow down, be less-than-willing to climb stairs, and may not walk as long.

Weight Gain: As dogs mature, they become less energetic, and their metabolisms slow. This makes it more difficult to keep them at a healthy weight, and they may easily gain too much of it. It’s important to check with your vet about feeding habits to prevent this problem, which can cause others.

Heart Disease: Old age can bring on heart problems, which can lead to congestive heart failure. Sometimes it’s caused by other factors, and sometimes it just comes with age. Know the signs.

Diabetes: Diabetes Mellitus is a disease of the pancreas; your dog becomes unable to process glucose and insulin as he once did. He may show similar signs as a human with diabetes, such as increased thirst, appetite, and urination. The treatment for this is regular insulin shots and a change in diet.

Dental Disease: Your dog’s teeth and gums will wear with time. It may become harder for him to chew as he once did, and he will be more susceptible to tooth and gum diseases. Keep your pet’s teeth healthy from day one, and have them cleaned by a vet regularly.

All these things are more are risks to your dog as he ages. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we perform regular exams of all dogs, including the elderly—ages seven and older. We highly recommend our 7th Year Geriatric Health Check for your aging dog, and regular screenings after that.

Seasonal Allergies, Part I: Spring and Your Dog

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Are you struggling with itchy, watery eyes and sneezing? You aren’t the only one; just as humans struggle with Spring allergies, so do dogs, and yours may need some extra attention, too.

Your dog’s allergies will come in different forms. Like you, dogs can have respiratory problems. They may sneeze, have watery noses and eyes, a cough, and develop infections just like people. Dogs can be negatively affected by pollens and other outdoor allergens, particularly since they often have their noses in almost everything. They may also show increased redness in their eyes and on their skin.

More often, dogs suffer from skin-related allergies, or allergic dermatitis. They’re skin will be inflamed and irritated, and they’ll scratch noticeably more than normal. They may scratch with their feet, their teeth, or they may start rubbing on the carpet and other things excessively, desperate to put an end to the itchiness. If the itch is left untreated, it could result in worse symptoms, such as bald patches, sores, tender skin, and more.

Ear itchiness is another common allergy-related problem for dogs. If your dog is focusing a lot of scratches on the ears, shaking her or his head, or appears to be losing hair in the area, she or he may have ear allergies. The ear canals become inflamed as a response to allergens and can get infected, which leads to discharge and other unpleasant symptoms.

It’s important to watch your dog carefully for these signs and treat them as quickly as you would if they were yours. Seasonal allergies can turn into long-term problems if left untreated, so it is important to see your vet as soon as possible. While medication is important, your vet may also want to try and find the primary cause of the allergy and provide treatment that prevents issues from reoccurring.

If your dog is clearly as miserable as you this spring, visit the drugstore for yourself, and the vet for your dog. Contact us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today for help with your dog’s seasonal allergies.

Three Tips for Caring for Your Senior Dog

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Oh, how we pet owners love, love, love our senior dogs. Whether they’ve been with us all of their life (and what feels like all of ours) or they’re a new addition to our home, a senior dog is loyal and loving. And though they may seem to need little care, the fact is that a senior dog requires more care than its younger model.

Help your senior dog to be with you as long as he or she can when you do the following:

Feed healthy foods. You may want to show your senior dog love by feeding whatever table scrap he or she desires, but that’s not a wise decision. Instead, feed them nutritious food as recommended by your veterinarian because dogs need different or more nutrients as they age. After all, what you put into a body is what you get out of it.

Keep them appropriately active. Exercise is key to keeping your dog healthy. It helps them avoid becoming overweight, which can wreck havoc on their bones and joints and also cause disease. On the flip side, you’ll also want to monitor how much exercise your dog is getting to ensure he or she doesn’t overdo it.

Get them to the vet. Not only should you schedule regular check-ups for your senior dog to have his or her health assessed, you should also stay on top of dental cleanings, which help keep bacteria out of the bloodstream and prevent disease. Your dog’s well-being becomes even more critical with age.

Lastly, give your senior dog as much attention as possible. In doing so, you’ll be able to notice any changes in his or her long-engrained behavior, which could signal a health issue. Even if all is status quo, you’ll both enjoy the time together that neither one of you will ever forget.

Have you walked your dog today?

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dog-237187_1280Walking your dog offers many benefits for both you and your canine friend, and with it being “National Walk Your Dog Week,” we want to tell you all about them! Here are three big reasons you should walk your dog daily:

  1. Walking keeps them healthy. No surprise here, but it’s a great reminder that while you’re away at work or school all day, your dog is likely lying around. Therefore, it’s important to get in some exercise to keep him or her from becoming too sedentary and overweight. In turn, your dog will be better equipped to fight disease and stay healthy. (The same goes for you!)
  2. Walking keeps them occupied. A stroll through the neighborhood offers so much more than the scenery in your backyard and allows your dog to take in all sorts of sights and smells. By giving them this opportunity, you’ll help satisfy their need for adventure and keep them from creating trouble within your home or yard.
  3. Walking keeps them happy. If they’re healthy and occupied, they’re obviously going to be happier. Furthermore, there’s nothing a dog loves more than to spend quality time with its owner, and walking is a great way to bond with him or her.

We know it can be hard with all that life brings to carve out time to walk your dog. However, we encourage you to find a slot that works within your everyday schedule, whether substituting 15-20 minutes of tv or computer time, and make it a daily routine. Simply put the leash by the door as a reminder, and hit the streets at the point best for you. Trust us; you’ll enjoy the sunshine, exercise, and quality moments, just as much as your dog.

Should you need some advice on how much activity your dog needs, schedule an appointment with your Pet Vet Animal Hospitals location. We’re happy to provide an exam to assess his or her physical health, so that you two can safely get your walk on every day.