Use the Wimbledon fortnight to ‘rally’ your senior dog’s exercise regime
As the masses descend upon SW19 once again for two weeks of tennis, why not get caught up in the sporting atmosphere and help to keep your senior dog fit and healthy?
Your four legged friend probably won’t be serving up aces as the next Woof-ael Nadal in the near future – paws are not designed to hold a racket, after all. But that shouldn’t stop you taking advantage of the balmy summer months to give your dog the optimal exercise.
Here are a few smashing tips to keep your older dog in top shape –
• Is my dog old? There is no specific time at which your canine companion is considered senior although most dogs tend to slow down between the ages of seven and ten. Larger breeds tend to show signs of age sooner than smaller ones; small breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers can live well into their teens however larger breeds such as Great Danes often do not live beyond ten years. Your vet will be able to advise you on the ageing pattern of your pet’s particular breed
• Small and often walks. If your dog struggles to get around it is still important to keep him active so short small walks are vital as otherwise joints can stiffen up. Lots of small walks are much better than one long walk on a Sunday which can put excessive strain on the joints
• Avoid the heat of the day. Remember dogs cannot sweat (well except through the paws) so they cool down with panting and dogs can overheat. This is why it is essential never to leave a dog in a parked car even for a really short time. Care should also be taken walking short nosed dogs or ones with breathing problems as they may struggle in the heat. Taking water with you is also greatly appreciated as it is important to keep hydration up
• Regular vet checks – A lot can change in a short time for a dog so regular check ups at the vet are important and any signs of slowing down should be checked. In many instances twice yearly checks are indicated to keep an optimal check on health. Like us, dogs can also suffer from heart problems, hormone problems and tumours and with early diagnosis many conditions can be treated to create an improved quality of life
• Does my dog have arthritis? Arthritis is very common in dogs. They tend to acquire osteoarthritis and the signs can start when quite young. Signs of arthritis include slowing down, stiffness when rising, lameness, muscle loss and pain. If you suspect that you dog may have arthritis then see your vet as there is so much that can be done to keep your dog happier for longer
• Treatments for arthritis. There is plenty that can be done to keep arthritic dogs mobile and happy. Treatments include painkillers and there is quite a variety of strong painkiller and anti-inflammatories available now; they are generally well tolerated but some can cause upset tummies but your vet can prescribe the optimal one for your dog. There is also a plethora of nutritional supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin and other ingredients that seem to help although the scientific evidence is not robust. We have started to use therapeutic lasers to help with these dogs and the results have been fantastic and the treatment is completely safe
• Don’t forget to keep up with all preventative care – Kennel Cough and all booster vaccinations, lungworm, flea and general worming treatments- just like us humans! Its easy to fight a cold if you’re 30, not so much when we get a great deal older. Remember in dog years a 9 year old dog can be as old as early seventies in human years
Diets are 30% off, we have six monthly check ups and the plan includes all your annual flea and worming treatments as well as 10% off everything else.