Be prepared for behavioral changes and keep your

Dachshund's routine as regular as possible. Older dogs tend to become less flexible and more resentful about changes in routine, because changes can be confusing. Feed, walk, and take your Dachshund out at the same times each day. If your Dachshund's vision or hearing declines, be sure to keep furniture and her food and water bowls in the same places so she doesn't get disoriented.

If you have an older longhaired or wirehaired Dachshund, don't yank at mats or strip hair too vigorously. Too much poking and pulling can irritate your older dog. But don't eliminate grooming, either. Keep up the daily routine but be aware that your Dachshund may be more sensitive. A gentle touch, please! She'll be comforted by the routine and your familiar touch. Frequent touching also will keep your pet prepared for more frequent vet visits and may alert you to skin or other changes.

What happens to your senior at the vet?

During a typical geriatric veterinary visit, your vet tests your Dachshund's kidney and liver function, blood sugar level, hematacrit, and protein level. Your Dachshund may receive an electrocardiogram, and the vet will check for changes in weight; look for lumps, bumps, and skin problems; ask you about your Dachshund's appetite and behavior; and take some blood.

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