Loving Your Middle-aged Dog

Depending on the breed, a dog is considered middle-aged between the years of 5-8. The larger the dog, the shorter the lifespan. Conversely, the smaller the dog, the longer they will live. I have a Chihuahua that is 22 ½ years old. My black lab died at age 10. Size makes a difference.

Even though you don’t know the exact point middle age occurs, these physical changes lead to the onset of middle-age.

Your dog will often put on weight and become “thicker.” The stomach may get fatter. Protect your dog’s heart health by keeping his weight under control. Extra weight will cause heart attacks and heart failure and possibly trigger diabetes.

Take your dog to the vet for “wellness checks.” Even though your dog looks healthy and active, the larger it grows, the more likely it is to have heart and liver issues revealed through blood tests. Don’t neglect this part of care because they have completed their “puppy shots.”

Watch your dog carefully when you walk them for limping, leg pain, and breathing problems. All of these symptoms can be the signal for a more serious issue other than “aging.”

Incontinence issues can occur when your dog begins to age. If you have this issue, first try to retrain your dog. Sometimes they just forget. If the retraining doesn’t work, or your dog seems in pain, take them to the vet immediately to check for kidney or bladder issues.

At this stage in your dog’s life, memory games, active outdoors games, and frequent walks are excellent ways to show love to your companion. Don’t forget to say “I love you” often, dogs have feelings too.

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