Australian Multigenerational Labradoodles
your Senior Labradoodle
dog's breed and size determine wen he enters his senior years. Although you can't hold
back the clock, there are many things you can do
Monitor Your Dog's
· Groom at least once a
week. It's more important than ever to spare your
dog the annoyance of fleas and other parasites: At this age, he won't be able to groom
himself as easily as he used to. As you brush him, take note of any bumps, skin lesions or
unusual hair loss. And remember that his skin is less elastic than it used to be, so be
careful not to scrape or pull it. Be sure to clip his nails to help give him sure footing.
· Massage his joints and
limbs. If your dog isn't able to exercise routinely,
improve his flexibility and circulation by gently massaging his muscles and joints.
- · Visit your veterinarian
frequently. Most vets recommend a check-up once
every 6 months when your dog reaches his senior years. Blood tests, X-rays,
electrocardiograms, ultrasound, CAT scans or MRIs might be necessary. Be prepared to tell
your vet about any changes in your pet's stamina, appetite or behavior, when it began and
what might have triggered it.
- · Have hearing and eyesight
checked. It's not unusual for an elderly dog's eyes
to look cloudy, and the condition may not signal illness. Like humans, however, they can
develop cataracts and glaucoma, and can experience hearing loss. If your pet seems
surprised when you come close to him, bumps into things or doesn't come when you call him,
the culprit may be failing faculties.
- · Brush your dog's teeth
daily. This staves off tooth decay and helps prevent
gum disease and tooth loss. Brushing regularly will also allow you to notice mouth and
tongue ulcers early on.
- · Note any increase in
"doggy breath." Dogs have their natural
smells and dog food can linger on their breath, but a change in breath to the point that
it becomes strong or offensive can signal various illnesses.
· Provide moderate exercise.
The old adage "use it or lose it" is as true for dogs
as it is for humans. Exercise helps your dog maintain muscle tone, keeps his heart and
digestion healthy and even improves his attitude. Walking is great. Gentle games of fetch
and other play not only keep him in shape, but keep him mentally alert and interacting
positively with you. Swimming is particularly good for arthritic dogs.
· Give frequent
"bathroom" breaks. His digestion may be
irregular and his bladder may lose elasticity and capacity.
· Stick to a regular
schedule. Your dog always liked a routine; he'll
appreciate it more now. Feed him and walk him at the same times each day.
· Minimize stress.
As he ages, even the most social dog may not welcome strange
animals or people, or even tolerate familiar children. Due to his failing senses,
arthritis or forgetfulness, your dog may shy away from previously welcomed travel or other
social situations. Help Your Dog Eat and Sleep
· Train him with both word
and hand commands. This will help to prepare for the
day when either sight or hearing dims.
· Don't leave him outside alone.
Keep your dog indoors and minimize his time outside. As a dog
ages, he'll be sensitive to changes in temperature - aging hearts and lungs don't adjust
as well to extremes of hot and cold. Since his senses, reflexes and thinking aren't as
sharp, the dog is likely to be more prone to accidents, injury from other animals or even
· Give him a soft bed.
Arthritis, elbow calluses and other conditions will make it
harder for your dog to sleep soundly. Orthopedic dog beds are available.
· Feed him properly. An aging dog gains weight more easily because his metabolism is
slowing. Your vet can recommend food that is high in fiber and lower in fat, so that your
dog is eating his accustomed amount of food, but fewer calories. As digestion worsens, he
might do better with smaller, more frequent meals. Conditions such as diabetes, arthritis,
heart or liver problems also call for special nutritional plans.
· Always provide fresh, cool
water. This is a good policy for creatures of all
ages, but especially important for an older dog.
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