Everyone knows that dogs age differently than humans. In fact, they age in a nonlinear way where one human year is the equivalent to about seven to ten dog years. A dog’s social and physical growth is quite fast and can make you wish time moved a little slower at times! Puppies can be quite adorable and yet they are only puppies for such a brief while. The unfortunate part is that this accelerated growth affects how they age as seniors as well. Just like humans, issues like diabetes, arthritis, cancer and kidney issues (among others) are things that can rear their ugly heads as our pets become ‘senior citizens’.
So what can you do? You can’t change the way your dog ages, all you can do is your best to get in front of any possible issues and this mean getting to the vet. Because of the different way they age, once your dog is officially ‘senior’ it is recommended that you make a visit to the vet every 6 months.
No one likes going to the doctor, and dogs are no exception. Nonetheless, geriatric dogs—defined as those seven years or older—should have routine veterinary examinations every six months. This may seem excessive, but it isn’t when you consider that six months is the equivalent of three dog-years. A yearly exam for a dog is equivalent to an exam every seven to 10 years for a human, and no medical doctor would advise seeing elderly human patients so infrequently. These routine exams are important, as they make it more likely that problems can be diagnosed and treated before they become more difficult to manage. (Read more here)
Again, just like with humans, the vet is likely to simply treat each visit like a yearly well-check and do some general diagnostic checks. These blood and urine checks can help catch quite a bit. The vet will also be asking you for information regarding how the pooch is eating, sleeping, eliminating, and moving around. Be sure you are keeping tabs on these things so that you can share any significant differences for the vet to evaluate. Don’t get obsessed! But if something makes you go “Uh, oh” then be sure to mention that to your vet at the next visit.