Special Needs for Senior Dogs

Once your dog reaches seven years of age, he or she needs special care. At Timpanogos Animal Hospital, our goal is to help your older dog have a long and comfortable life. There are many things that you can do to help your dog maintain a high quality of life.

To Help Your Senior Pet

  • Feed your pet a high-quality diet formulated for senior dogs. Senior diets may reduce the chances of your pet becoming overweight or developing kidney or heart disease.
  • Keep your dog’s weight at an acceptable level. Overweight animals are more likely to develop arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. This may mean feeding less food than you have in the past.
  • Provide your dog with adequate exercise. This can help bones, joints, and  muscles to remain healthy as well as keeping your pet  trim.
  • Have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. Approximately 85% of animals over the age of seven have periodontal disease.  In addition to being painful, dental disease causes problems throughout your pet’s body. Bacteria from the mouth travel through the bloodstream, affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
  • Take care of your dog’s teeth at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth and using certain types of food can prevent serious dental problems from occurring.
  • Make sure that your dog has a physical examination every 6 months. Our veterinarians can detect problems that your pet may be experiencing and offer solutions that will help.
  • Have a panel of routine bloodwork and a complete urinalysis performed on your dog each year to monitor organ function and to rule out the possibility of a bladder infection. This will allow our veterinarians to catch problems before your animal becomes seriously ill.

Many older pets that appear to be “going downhill” or suffering from the effects of “old age” may in fact have conditions that can be easily controlled or treated. Recognizing the specific signs that your pet is displaying and seeking treatment can help pets feel better and may add years to their lives.  Remember, old age is not a disease!

Does your pet display any of these signs?


Possible Problem

Available Treatments

  • Stiffness
  • Slowness to get up (in the morning)
  • Limping
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Difficulty jumping up
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Rimadyl, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, can relieve arthritis pain.
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate supplements may prevent loss of muscle mass
  • Weight loss and exercise programs may reduce the stress on affected joints.
  • Bad breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Drooling
  • Buildup of plaque on teeth
  • Inflamed Gums
  • Painful Mouth
  • Dental Disease
  • Professional dental scaling and polishing to remove plaque buildup.
  • Extracting unhealthy teeth in order to make your pet comfortable
  • Dental care at home
  • Diet therapy
  • Increased water or food intake
  • Increased urination
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin and diet therapy
  • Increased food/water intake
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Changes in activity level
  • Hair loss
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Treatment with Mitotane
  • Diet therapy
  • Loss of housetraining
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Abnormal vocalization
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns
  • Altered response to family
  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Treatment with Anipryl
  • Diet therapy
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced activity
  • Hair loss
  • Shivering
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Regulation of thyroid levels with medication
  • Labored breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sluggishness
  • Heart disease
  • Treatment with various cardiac medications
  • Diet therapy
  • Abnormal growths
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Tumors (benign or malignant)
  • Cysts
  • Fine-Needle aspirate or histopathology  to determine nature of lump
  • Surgical removal if necessary
  • Frequent urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Leaking urine
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Urethral laxity
  • Medication
  • Diet therapy
  • Increased water intake
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss, muscle loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Kidney Disease
  • Fluid therapy
  • Diet therapy

How long is a life time
What is a senior work-up
Weight loss for dogs’s
Delight your Dog exercises
Caring for your pets teeth
Age Chart