Your dog has been with you through thick and thin.  With all of their puppy eyes, tail wags, and (sometimes slobbery) kisses, they’ve cheered you up on bad days, comforted you through bad times, and shared your happiness through great adventures.  We want to keep them around to enjoy life with us as long as we possibly can.  That’s why today’s post is all about senior dog care.

Dogs encounter some of the same health issues as people as they age.  Some dogs can develop arthritis and other joint issues, and you may notice your beloved friend slowing down over the years.  Your dog’s joints are composed of cartilage, membranes, and fluid.  Cartilage can start wearing out over those blissful, bounding years.  This can result in bones that rub together and cause the dog pain.  The joints of large dogs, active dogs, working dogs, and dogs that live upstairs in apartment buildings, for example, may require a little extra love.  You can do some things to help maintain healthy joints from the start, like keeping from overfeeding and allowing adequate exercise.  Joint supplements can go a long way both preventatively and reconstructively, and we are happy to offer a variety of different options to help give your dog’s body the building blocks it needs (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, Omega-3 fatty acids, etc.) to maintain and heal joint tissues.

However, life happens, and your best friend may need some vet visits for medical treatment and pain management.  One option to aid with arthritis – as well as issues such as chronic pain, stress, kidney disease, liver disease, seizure activity, and more – is acupuncture.  Both Dr. Cheryl Pfeffer and Dr. Alison Vanderhoof are certified in Veterinary Acupuncture with the Chi Institute.  Acupuncture helps restore balance using the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to create a healing response. This stimulates nerves, increases blood circulation, relieves muscle spasms, and helps release hormones and endorphins. It’s a field of medicine under continuous study, with additional benefits still being discovered.  Dr. Pfeffer and Dr. Vanderhoof’s treatment includes the use of dry needle and electroacupuncture.  We also offer cold therapy laser services, which help cells make more energy and heal faster.  This also helps tremendously with pain and inflammation.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to wait until your dog is suffering with symptoms to have their health in mind.  Older pets often develop a range of age-related issues, such as loss of appetite, mobility challenges, and failing eyesight. Veterinary wellness checkups can ensure quality of life for as long as possible.  Periodic blood work is also a great way to monitor your dog’s health over the years, giving us a baseline idea of their “normal” so that we can catch developing issues early and treat them accordingly.  Blood work can help us monitor blood cells and enzymes and address any oncoming issues.  We recommend these checkups yearly so that we can assess your pet’s continued health journey.

Animal Medical & Surgical Hospital can help make sure your dog lives a happy life for as long as possible.  For many of us, our pets are family, and the only negative to having a dog is that you fall absolutely in love and have to come to terms with the fact that their lifespan is naturally so much shorter than yours.  By the end of their years, they may have gotten to the point where they have outstanding mobility issues or chronic conditions that can no longer be alleviated with medicines and treatments.

We’re here to keep your dog happy and healthy throughout their entire journey.  We know your aging dog’s quality of life is important, and we’re happy to do everything we can to help your older dog thrive.  Never hesitate to bring your beloved family member in for a checkup so we can make sure they’re living as comfortably as possible through all of your amazing years together!

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