Hygiene for Senior Dogs

Tips for Our Senior Dogs and Their Hygiene



Many of us who own dogs love and care for them the best we can. In particular, we make sure that they stay current on the check-ups with their veterinarian and make sure they are always up to date on their shots and vaccinations. However, one thing that many of us - unintentionally, in most cases - let slip is our dog's hygiene. This can become a problem, especially in older dogs. Good hygiene for an older dog can help to make certain that your older dog enjoys the healthiest life possible.



Older Dogs and Hygiene One thing that many of us do not actively take care of in our dogs is their oral hygiene. If left unchecked, your dog's mouth can become a breeding ground for problems such as plaque and gingivitis. Plaque is usually the first problem that your dog can encounter if you do not actively take care of his or her teeth. Plaque is an incurable but treatable bacterial infection that, if not treated, can cause severe problems. Check your dog for the following symptoms: red/inflamed gums, loose teeth, halitosis (bad breath), excessive amounts of drools, or deposits on the teeth that are yellow and/or brown.



If you see your dog suffering from these symptoms, make sure to take him or her to the vet immediately. If your dog is an older dog, he or she might have a harder time fighting these symptoms because of the breakdown in his or her immune system that comes with aging. If your dog does not have problems with plaque, a good way to keep him or her from suffering from gingivitis in the future is to put him or her on a tooth-brushing schedule. If you can brush your dog's teeth once a week, you can go a long way towards making sure that their oral health stays just that - healthy. Make sure you use toothpaste and a toothbrush that are specially designed for dogs; toothbrushes and toothpastes designed for humans can have detrimental effects on the oral health of dogs. The earlier you can start this practice, the better, because older dogs can have a hard time adjusting to changes to their routine, such as a brushing schedule.



Another issue with older dogs is their changing coat. To help keep their coat healthy, make sure that you find and use a shampoo on your dog's coat that is especially designed for the coats of older dogs; that way, you will ensure the best chance of keeping your dog's coat as thick and as healthy as possible for as long as possible. In addition, you will need to get a brush that is gentler on their coat and its underlying skin. Because your dog is older, it might start to shed its coat more easily, so gentle brushing with a gentler brush is very important to maintaining the health and vitality of your dog's coat.



Also, as you are brushing your older dog, it is a very good idea to check them for any lumps or growths. Catching tumors at the earliest stage possible, and getting the appropriate treatment for whatever underlying problem caused the tumor, is vital for keeping your dog healthy in his or her latter years.



Older Dogs and Hygiene Also, as your dog gets older, he or she might be dealing with brittle nails, especially if you do not regularly trim them. It is important to get educated about how much and how often to trim your dog's nails. If your dog regularly exercises on hard surfaces, he or she might not need much help in keeping his or her nails short.



However, in the cases on many older dogs, they are not as active, which means that their nails grow out more than the nails grow on younger, more active dogs. Make sure that you get a lesson from your vet on how to trim your older dog's nails before trying it yourself; that way, you'll minimize the chance of hurting your dog when you trim the nails yourself. In general, you want to trim the nails down to within two millimeters of the part of the nail that contains blood vessels (also known as "the quick"). You also want to make sure that you hold your dog in such a way as to minimize the chance of him or her moving around and potentially injuring themselves while in the process of getting their nails trimmed. If you do, by chance, end up nicking them while trimming the nails, make sure to take a break and comfort them, letting them know that you didn't mean to hurt them.



Hygiene for dogs, especially older dogs, can be easily overlooked. However, if you follow the guidelines listed above, you can ensure your dog a healthier, happier life, especially in his or her older years.



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