Potty Training An Adult Dog

By Maria Posted in dog care /

Senior Dog Care

Because of better nutrition, owner care and advances in veterinary medicine, our senior canine companions are living healthier and longer lives. Several toy breeds have a life expectancy well into the late teens or early twenties, while many bigger breeds have doubled their life spans in the past few decades.

photoWhat’s the definition of old for a dog? It’s probably the last 25 percent of his life. So if a small pooch is expected to live 16 years, he would become a senior at 12 years old, and if a large dog has a life expectancy of 10 years, he would be considered old at 7.5 years of age.

Our aging dogs have been our loving friends for many years and we’ve come to appreciate their predictable behavior and calm demeanor. However, you may have started to notice changes in your pet’s appearance, disposition and activity level. Canines are sensory animals and as they get older, their senses begin to decline.

Your dog’s eyesight can become impaired with age by certain conditions such as cataract, glaucoma and dry eye (reduced tear production). You may also observe symptoms of hearing loss when your pet no longer comes when called or startles easily. You will have to adapt to these changes and train your dog to recognize hand signals.

Your dog may refuse his meals due to dental disease or declining taste sensitivity. You will have to adjust by warming his food to enhance the taste and smell. Your pet’s ability to distinguish scents may diminish with age and he will have to make use of another sense to compensate.

Aside from dulling senses, you may become aware of the fact that your dog isn’t so eager to go for walks anymore. If so, make the walks shorter. Your pet may also have to urinate more often. Reduce his water intake late at night so you won’t be wakened to let your dog out in the middle of the night. If you have a smaller dog you can train him to use an indoor litter box.

If your dog has arthritis, you might want to get a ramp or steps so he can get onto his favorite couch without difficulty. You can also minimize problems by slimming him down through diet and exercise.

Many senior dog health conditions are caused by canine obesity. Being overweight can increase the odds and severity of canine diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease and heart disease. Older dogs need about 25 calories per pound of body weight each day compared to 100 calories per pound for puppies and 60 calories per pound for adult canines. A proper diet combined with exercise can help shed extra weight and improve your dog’s overall well-being.

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