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How to Keep your Dog Healthy

There are a number of things you can do to make sure your dog stays happy and healthy well into their golden years. It starts, however, with recognizing possible negative effects on their health and being realistic about their age and needs.

   1. Pinpoint Old Age in Your Dog - First, know when your dog is considered to be reaching an older age so you can adjust their diet and activity levels accordingly. Usually, this depends on their breed and size.

Smaller dogs (less than 20 pounds) are considered "senior" at 9-13 years, while medium dogs (21-50 pounds) are at 9-11 years and big dogs (51-90 pounds) are at 7-11 years. Very large dogs might start to reach old age as young as 6 years of age.

   2. Going to the Vet - Make sure to have your dog's wellness checks every 12 months until they reach old age. As soon as they are considered "Senior" or they start to display signs of aging, double that and start going to the vet every 6 months.

Regular vet visits will not only ensure shots are up to date, but help to diagnose things like tooth problems, infections, or loss of faculties.

   3. Maintaining Weight - If your dog starts to gain weight, it's best to take immediate action. Obesity in a dog can ramp up quickly and lead to a number of health problems if you're not careful, including heart disease and liver problems.

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Reduce feeding times if necessary and increase exercise, even for dogs that are older and do not want to go out as often.

   4. Minimize Outdoor Activities - If your dog is outdoors with no supervision, take them inside and pay closer attention. The risk of injury, illness, and exposure outside is greater and as they age it can be more dangerous.

Most dogs should be only allowed outside under supervision anyways, but when they reach senior age status, never let them out alone.

To ensure that your dog lives longer and healthier, make sure that you check out The ULTIMATE Guide to Dog Health:

   5. Exercise Regularly - A regular exercise routine should include at least 2 walks a day of at least 30 minutes each. Some breeds may require as much as 2-3 hours of walking a day. If you cannot supply the needed exercise, consider hiring someone to help.

   6. Spaying and Neutering - Unaltered dogs can be more at risk of specific disease and illnesses that develop with age. It is a good idea to have your dogs spayed or neutered anyways, but to minimize health problems with age, it is a good idea to have it done after 6 months of age.

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   7. Keep them Busy - Bored dogs can become lethargic and that can have a negative impact on their health. Activities like playing or toys that force them to think about solutions and ways to reach treats or dig up toys are all good, especially as they age.

Such activities can reduce the chances of brain degeneration, psychological problems, and other health issues that tend to crop up extensively as a dog gets older.

A dog, regardless of their age, needs many things. In fact, almost none of the things listed above will change from the day you bring your dog home to the time they turn 12 years old. A dog has consistent needs throughout their life and should be cared for especially well in old age.

From the time you first get a puppy, it is a good idea to have a set diet, exercise regimen, and clear idea of the supplements, vet visits, and attention a dog needs. With all of these things, you can expect your furry friend to live as long or longer than expected.

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