There are many health problems that simply cannot be prevented, but there are ways to delay the progression of these illnesses. There are also many ways to keep your dog be healthy overall.
It is critical to help your senior dog maintain an ideal body condition score. This means that he should have more lean body mass than body fat. Keeping a lean body condition score will not only keep excess weight off of your dog’s joints but is also reported to add another year or two to your dog’s lifespan. Make sure to check in with your dog’s veterinarian at least every six months for a full physical examination and at least once a year for blood and urine testing to screen for health problems. Your dog will be weighed, and your vet will determine if your dog is overweight.
If your dog is overweight, then your vet can help develop a diet plan. She might have you switch to a lower-calorie food and can tell you the number of calories that your dog can have each day. You will need to avoid giving extra treats and table scraps. Routine exercise can also help prevent excess body weight and reduce the risk of certain diseases like diabetes. Low impact exercises are preferred if your dog is showing signs of arthritis or has any other orthopedic problems or injuries.
If your dog isn’t acting right, then make sure to contact your veterinarian right away. When health problems are detected quickly, then early intervention can make a big difference in your dog’s outcome. For example, increased thirst and urination can be signs of health problems like diabetes or kidney disease. By detecting diabetes early, you can prevent the development of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a serious consequence of poorly controlled diabetes that requires intensive hospital care. If kidney disease is detected early, then your veterinarian can make diet, medication, and supplement recommendations that can help prevent further kidney damage.
There are numerous medications and supplements that your veterinarian might recommend for your older dog. Anti-inflammatory medications like carprofen can help with arthritis pain, and joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin can help protect your dog’s joints from injuries. There is abundant anecdotal evidence that supports the use of hemp-derived CBD oil for pain and anxiety, and coconut oil is recommended by many veterinary dermatologists for its benefits for your dog’s skin and coat. Supplements containing turmeric can help with inflammation and promote cardiovascular health. Additional vitamins might not be necessary if your dog is on a well-balanced diet, so be sure to ask your veterinarian before starting any new medication or supplement for your dog.