Your pet dog
With owning a dog comes responsablity as well as much joy You can make a major contribution to your pet’s longevity, happiness and quality of life by providing him with good nutrition, loving attention in a safe, sanitary environment and regular checkups at your veterinarian’s.
Basic Dog Care
Spaying or Neutering your puppy/dog
Many veterinarians believe that spaying or neutering not only helps solve the serious problem of unwanted pet overpopulation but also makes for friendlier, easier-to-live-with pets. Spayed female dogs are more relaxed, while neutered males are less likely to roam, ‘spray’ or urine-mark their territory, or fight with other males. Plus, sterilization has health benefits – it helps to minimize the risk for cancers of the reproductive organs and the mammary glands in females and reduces the incidence of prostate problems in males.
Spaying removes the uterus and ovaries of a female dog, usually after the age of six months. A major surgical procedure, it is performed under general anesthesia and most often involves an overnight stay at an animal hospital. Complications are rare and recovery normally is complete within two weeks.
Neutering, also carried out under general anesthesia, removes the testicles of a male dog through an incision at the base of the scrotum. Usually performed when the puppy is about six months old, it necessitates only a brief hospital stay. Full recovery takes about seven to ten days.
Your Geriatric Dog
When is the best time to start caring for your ageing pet? When he’s a puppy. Starting off your dog’s life with good nutrition, regular exercise, scheduled veterinary appointments and a happy home life sets the blueprint for a high quality of life in his older years. However, as your dog ages, much like humans, changes to the metabolism will occur. Paying attention to your dog’s behaviour will make detecting problems easier.
What you can do at home
- Check your dog’s mouth, eyes and ears regularly. Watch for loose teeth, redness, swelling or discharge.
- Keep your pet’s sleeping area clean and warm.
- Groom your pet often. You’ll detect any unusual sores or lumps and keep his coat healthy.
- Make fresh water available at all times.
- Maintain a regime of proper nutrition, exercise and loving attention.
How old is your dog?
|If your dog is…||In human terms, that’s|
|* Please note, these equivalencies refer to small breeds.|
Obesity is a big health risk. An older dog is a less active dog, so adjustments to your pet’s diet to reduce caloric intake are imperative. This will relieve pressure on his joints as well as manage the risks of heart failure, kidney or liver disease, digestive problems and more. Other changes to his nutrition should include increasing fiber, fatty acids and vitamins while decreasing sodium, protein and fat.
Arthritis’ severity can range from slight stiffness to debilitation. An exercise program, also to maintain muscle tone and mass, can be adjusted to his condition. Anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve the pain. Your veterinarian will prescribe any necessary medication.
Intolerance to hot and cold temperatures occurs because your dog produces less of the hormones which regulate the body’s normal temperature. Move his bed closer to a heater and bring him indoors on cold days.
Tooth loss or decay not only makes it harder to chew but also increases the likelihood of infection or tumours. Brushing and cleaning the teeth will help keep these to a minimum.
Prostate enlargement or Mammary Gland Tumours is mostly diagnosed in unneutered or unspayed dogs. Have the prostate or mammary glands examined at checkups.
Separation Anxiety presents itself when older dogs can’t cope with stress. Aggressive behaviour, noise phobia, increased barking and whining or restless sleep are the signs. Medication combined with behaviour modification techniques are key.
Skin or coat problems in ageing dogs means the skin loses elasticity, making your pet more susceptible to injury while the coat’s hair thins and dulls over time. Grooming more often and fatty acid supplements are highly beneficial.