Are you interested in adopting a pet from a rescue group but aren't sure if it's the best option for you? We answer a few common questions about rescue groups and explain how adoptions work.View Article
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|Dog's weight in pounds|
|0-20 lbs.||21-50 lbs.||51-90 lbs.||91+ lbs.|
|Match your dog's age and weight to see his/her age in human years|
Bi-annual Physical Exams
As our companions age, their bodies tend to become more fragile and less efficient. Visiting the doctor on a regular basis for a complete physical examination is an ideal way to be sure abnormalities do not go unnoticed. Bi-annual exams commonly allow non-visible but serious conditions such as heart murmurs and abdominal tumors to be picked up prior to causing any problems. In addition, early signs of arthritis and diet requirements can be addressed.
A heart murmur is a common sign of the heart becoming less efficient. This common condition tends to develop with age and can occur for to a variety of reasons. One common cause of heart murmurs is gingivitis which is discussed later in this text. Fortunately, with the help of modern diagnostic tools and superior medications, the harmful progression of a heart murmur can be slowed. Many times the symptoms of heart murmurs are very subtle and include things such as coughing, excessive panting, bloating, fainting, or even lethargy. When addressed, most animals with heart murmurs live long normal lives.
Geriatric Blood Monitoring
Many signs of aging such as a gray muzzle and cloudy eyes are easily noticed when interacting with your companion. In addition to these external changes there are many internal changes occurring at the same time. On an annual basis, routine blood work should be performed on your pet to insure the internal organs are performing adequately. The routine blood work will consist of a variety of blood tests to check for early signs of kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, dehydration, infection, and more. This information is important because catching early stages of the above conditions can many times avoid aggressive treatment necessary if your animal begins to show symptoms. In fact, in many cases, slight and gradual changes in organ function can many times be treated with diet and/or dietary supplements.
In the event abnormalities are detected with annual blood work, prescription diets can be utilized to correct the problem without aggressive treatment. As our companions age on the inside, their bodies are less able to break down the excess of proteins and nutrients contained in regular diets. Prescription diets are designed to provide the appropriate proteins in the appropriate forms and in the appropriate quantity to help salvage and even regenerate damaged organs. By utilizing diet to reduce the bodies workload, organs many times will once again function within normal limits.
As both animals and people age, our bodies have a tendency to accumulate free radicals. Free Radicals are defined as unstable oxygen molecules which have an unpaired electron. The harm they cause is by binding to functional molecules and rendering them unusable. By eliminating the presence of these harmful free radicals, the body can speed up the healing process, increase circulation and oxygenation to important organs, boost the immune system, and even slow down the aging process. Adding a vitamin supplement containing an antioxidant to your companions diet can greatly reduce the presence of these free radicals. This is done when antioxidants bind to the unpaired electron on the free radical causing them to be removed from the body. Lets start your companion on a beneficial supplement today.
The most common condition experienced by aging people and animals is excessive weight gain due to inappropriate diet or over eating. As our companion's bodies age, exercise and activity levels are naturally decreased which leads to unnecessary and excessive weight gain. As age increases and activity level decreases, the diet should be adjusted. Many times diets can be adjusted to compensate for reduced activity levels by simply moving from a maintenance diet to a geriatric diet. Geriatric diets are typically made with less fat and less calories. In the event an animal becomes overweight, there are special reducing diets designed to actually take the weight off your animal without reducing the quantity of food consumed. Preventing animals from carrying around unneeded weight is an easy way to improve and extend your companions quality of life.
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
It is difficult to watch your dog age, especially if your old friend starts to lose interest in your family and begins to require a lot more care. Some of the signs once thought of as simply "old age" may actually be signs of a medical condition known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Many of the signs can include confusion, bumping into walls or furniture, sleeping more, pacing, seeking less attention, and even lack of house training. CDS is believed to be caused by both physical and chemical changes that affect the brain function in older dogs. Fortunately there is now a product called Anipryl manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health. This product is designed to treat CDS which, in turn, brightens your dog's "golden years" and improves your companions quality of life.
As time passes and our companions age, stiffness in joints, slowness to get up, and even limping can become apparent. If your dog could talk, knowing when he/she had throbbing knees from playing too long, or painful hips when from walking up the stairs would be a lot easier. Many times these conditions are symptoms of arthritis that your companion is counting on you to recognize. In the past, arthritis would cause such discomfort to animals that surgery, euthanasia, or large doses of steroids with harmful side effects were the only humane choices. Fortunately there are now a variety of safe products that can provide a great deal of relief for your companion. One of these amazing products is Etogesic, which is manufactured by Fort Dodge Animal Health. Another is Rimadyl, manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health. These amazing products are safer than our choices of the past and can be administered once to twice a day to help your companion feel like a puppy again.
Imagine not brushing your teeth for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of years! … well, that is how your pet feels. Dentistry is an important part of health care that can increase your pet's life and even make your pet more pleasurable to be around. Plaque and tartar build-up on your pet's teeth and under the gum line are continuous processes that lead to bad breath, tooth loss, and even heart, liver, and kidney disease. This happens when the bacteria in the plaque and tartar enters the bloodstream and deposits into one of the bodies major organs. A routine brushing and dental scaling program for your pet's teeth can greatly reduce the build-up of harmful bacteria contained in plaque and tartar.
Lumps and Bumps
Through the years your pets may develop a number of lumps and bumps on them. These areas may range in size, appearance, and potential harm to the animal. Some growths tend to develop as animals age; however, anytime a growth is noticed on an animal a veterinarian should immediately be consulted due to the potential risk of a malignant cancer being present. Many times quick treatment of harmful growths can prevent them from
Cataracts are cloudy or opaque areas which develop on the lens of the eye and are especially common eye abnormalities that occur in both older people and older animals. This condition can many times be hereditary and will continue to worsen over time. Fortunately, cataracts are an inconvenient condition, not a painful one. Over time cataracts will increase in size and thickness eventually leading to complete blindness. Similar to people, animals can now be relieved of this inconvenient condition with a simple surgical procedure.