Your puppy has reached his first birthday and is now considered and adult. With improvements in nutrition, parasite prevention, veterinary care and dental health, a well cared for dog can live 9 to 15 years and beyond. Here are some recommendations to help your dog reach senior status.
There has been a lot of controversy over the years in regard to pet food. Supplements imported from China have contained contaminants, preservatives may have been linked to cancer, raw pet food may not be balanced with regard to phosphorus and calcium and may contain bacteria contaminants such as salmonella or E.coli.
So what is a pet owner to do?
As a pet owner myself and a veterinarian, I still recommend premium dog foods such as Science Diet and Eukanuba. These dog foods have gone through rigorous testing and are backed with nutritional data and research. Feed your dog according to his age and activity. If he is getting a little on the chubby side, start feeding the light diets, reduce the amount of table food and make sure your dog gets more activity. Before switching your pet food to the latest “fad” diet, just remember that marketing the pet food is geared toward the owner and may not necessarily be the best for your dog. Always check with your veterinarian to see what diet he or she may recommend for your dog.
Spay or Neuter your dog
As covered in some other posts, spaying or neutering your dog will help reduce or even eliminate some cancers and diseases. Studies have shown that neutered male dogs do live longer because they are more likely to stay home and reduce the urge to jump the fence and seek out the female in heat 5 miles away. Females can reduce their chance of breast cancer when spayed early and a complete hysterectomy eliminates the chance of pyometra (a uterine infection). My favorite dog died from complications of a pyometra when I was growing up and have learned the hard way about the complications of not having my dog spayed.
As an adult dog, the distemper vaccination and rabies vaccination can be given every three years. However, the other vaccinations that protect against Leptospirosis, kennel cough and influenza should be given every year and sometimes more often depending on your dog’s location, travel and boarding habits. Your veterinarian can reccommend a vaccination schedule that is best for your pet.
Dogs do suffer from dental disease. The best course of action is brushing your dog’s teeth daily and getting them used to having their mouth handled at an early age. Prevention of periodontal disease has shown to increase your dog’s life expentancy by almost 3 years. Your veterinarian can also recommend water or food additives, dental chews or a dental diet to help with dental care.
Preventative parasite control
Fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, heartworms, ear mites, demodex and sarcoptic mites are just a few parasites that can infect your dog. Newer prescription products can help protect against some of these parasites. Technology is constantly improving the safety and efficacy of these products. Check with your veterinarian to see what parasites are prevalent in your area and which products will help protect your pet. Check the blog frequently as we will update the information as these products are released.
The most important part of your pet’s wellness program is the exam by your veterinarian. Your dog’s dental health, eyes, ears, lymph nodes, skin, musculo-skeletal system (joints and bones) is checked over by your veterinarian. The internal organs can be checked with a blood count and serology. Urine test can check for bladder infections or early kidney disease. Dogs can suffer from many of the same diseases as humans, including cancer. If these problems are caught early, they can often be treated.