Keeping Your Older Dog Healthy

Your cocker spaniel Roxie has lost some of the spring in her step. She takes a little longer to greet you at the door, and she doesn’t want to play fetch quite as much. You know Roxie’s getting older, so you’ve asked your Hutchinson Island veterinarian to give Roxie a complete physical exam to make sure she’s still in good health. He’ll likely ask you about any changes in her appetite and food consumption, her peeing and pooping habits, and any odd behaviors that have recently popped up.


Nutritional Requirements

Roxie needs a nutritionally complete diet containing top-quality protein, minerals and vitamins, and essential fatty acids. At the same time, she should keep her calories down, since she’s not quite as active. If Roxie has a medical condition, and must have a specially formulated diet, your vet can likely provide you with that recommended food.


Age-Appropriate Exercise

Keep Roxie moving with regular light exercise, as physical movement helps fend off obesity and keeps her limber. Ask your vet if daily walks, a gentle game of inside fetch, and a swim are appropriate. Tell your vet if Roxie seems to experience pain when she stands up, navigates the stairs, or walks normally. He might recommend medications that will improve her comfort level.


Timely Dental Care

You really want to keep Roxie’s gums and teeth healthy, as untreated dental disease is painful and can result in internal organ infections down the road. During Roxie’s physical exams, your vet will check her teeth and will likely recommand a cleaning. If she does need one, your vet will place Roxie under general anesthesia while a technician monitors her vital signs. Your vet will remove plaque, hard tartar, and bacteria from Roxie’s teeth. He’ll also recommend a good dental diet, regular brushing, and perhaps a specific dental chew toy to help keep Roxie’s teeth in good condition.


Regular Vaccinations

Roxie still needs the regular vaccinations that protect her against dangerous, infectious canine diseases. Your vet will tailor those shots to Roxie’s age, health condition, and lifestyle.


Now that your Hutchinson Island vet has established a good health baseline for Roxie, giving her a twice-yearly checkup enables him to tweak her health regimen and catch any medical problems quickly.

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