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Old or geriatric dogs are at the stage of life at which the aging process is affecting every organ. Some organs wear out faster than others, so it is important that the older dog does receive special care.

Points that are particularly important include the following:

1. Make sure that vaccinations are kept up to date.

2.Groom frequently to keep haircoat from matting.

3.Clip nails since over growth is more likely as the dog becomes less active due to age.

4.Keep plenty of fresh water available and monitor consumption.

5.Make sure other pets do not prevent the old dog free access to food and water.

6.Keep indoors most of the time, especially when the weather is cold or damp.

7.Weigh on the same scale and record results at least every month.

8.Arrange a checkup with your veterinary surgeon if any of the following occur:

  • Sustained, significant increase in water consumption. (Abnormal is intake greater than 100 ml/kg/day or approximately 1.5 cups/day for a 10 pound dog)
  • Sustained, significant increase in urination
  • Weight loss
  • Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than two consecutive days
  • Significant increase in appetite
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of days
  • Any straining or difficulty in passing feces or urine
  • If the dog suddenly becomes dirty in the house
  • Lameness that lasts more than 3 or 4 days, or lameness in more than one leg
  • Noticeable decrease in vision, especially if sudden in onset or pupils that do not constrict in bright light
  • Masses, ulcerations (open sores), or multiple scabs on the skin especially if they appear to be getting worse
  • Foul breath or sudden drooling from the mouth
  • Increasing size of the abdomen
  • Increasing inactivity or amount of time spent sleeping
  • Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Excessive panting
  • Sudden collapse or weakness
  • Inability to chew dry food
  • A seizures, convulsions or odd behavior

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